BP Toolbox

Be willing to try


“We’ve never done it that way… but I’m willing to try it.” This was the response of one of our church’s worship team leaders after I shared a plan to return from the pandemic that would stretch our all-volunteer team to the limits.

We were moving from one service to three, two on Sunday morning and one on Saturday night. While this move would allow people to spread out during Covid and add flexibility to reach more people, the worship team and tech teams would be increasing their responsibilities.

It would have been easy at that moment and over the following months for complaints to arise, but that was never what I heard. The worship team saw the additional services as an opportunity to serve our people and reach our community. Instead of saying, “This will never work,” they said, “How can we make this work?”

I cannot tell you how much their attitude buoyed me during a time when I was keenly aware of my own anxiety in a trying season of ministry. An openness to change, even an enthusiasm to try something that was difficult was a source of encouragement to me.

There is little that will breathe wind into the sails of a pastor’s heart like a congregation that is eager to innovate to reach the lost and make disciples. Nothing says you are for your pastor more than following him into new endeavors.

In his book Lead Like It Matters: 7 Leadership Principles for a Church That Lasts, Craig Groeschel reminds us that if we want “to reach people no one is reaching, we’ll have to do things no one is doing.” We must not allow fear of failure stifle stepping out into what God calls us to. As William Carey said, we must “expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.”

Change isn’t the goal. Henry Blackaby reminds us that the goal is aligning ourselves with the work God is doing in his world. Adjustments are needed for us to experience the joys of obedience and partnership with God in his work. 

Pastors must work to cultivate an environment where these kinds of adjustments become normal. This requires trust that comes from relational investment with our people. We need to be open and transparent about the reasons for and risks of a change and be honest when a change doesn’t pan out as we hoped. 

I’ve found it true that God often does new things in our hearts and in our churches when we attempt new things. In our season of pandemic-driven innovation, we witnessed every new member who came to the church during that time start in a new service time. Our worship team grew with new vocalists and instrumentalists. New tech team leaders were trained. God blessed our efforts beyond what we expected.

The next time you feel those words welling up, “We’ve never done it that way,” consider adding, “But I’m willing to try it!”

Michael Awbrey is Leadership Development Director for the IBSA Growth Team.

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  • Michael Awbrey