One of the things that continues to be problematic in the local church is how difficult it is to change some of the ancillary, let alone fundamental, issues that prevent the church from fulfilling its mission.
The church is often structured in such a way that many people share authority, and therefore decisions require a great deal of (sometimes needless) scrutiny by multiple layers of people who might be affected.
It’s not that I believe in authoritarian power in any way. In fact, I’m much more convinced that the Lord leads the church through gifted people who work together in small but effective groups who have responsibility, accountability and authority to make decisions.
One church that I know personally has not been able to make a fundamental decision about the length of its worship services even though it’s widely known that they are much too long and have been a detriment to the effectiveness of its mission.
This is not the case in most effective organizations. When something needs to be addressed, people who have responsibility and authority for such decisions need to act with decisiveness and, if called upon to change, to do so with humility and grace.
When it comes to the major issues of the church, such as its policies and doctrines, change is infinitely more difficult. Many times it comes at the cost of members and supporters of the church who believe that “the old way is the only way.” It’s sad, really, because the reality is that only the essence of the message of the gospel is the unchangeable fountain head from which truth flows. Most everything else is just “packaging” that though important, should be able to be changed without any burdensome and draining dialogue that simply paralyzes the organization.
The speed of change is something every leader needs to take seriously.