Stop doing things “because we’ve always done it that way.” Instead, be intentional – about everything. Have a good, solid reason as to why a church does everything. I’ve worked with too many churches who are just repeating what they’ve done in previous years and are getting the same results but they are fearful of changing the status quo lest they upset members. Frankly, staff members aren’t worried about upsetting a member, they’re worried about losing their jobs.

Even Jesus had serious problems with what had become tradition instead of faith and he got in trouble when he questioned why the Jewish leaders kept up practices that were outdated. Their answer was the same that churches use today, “because we’ve always done it that way.”

Ask questions of people—lots of questions—about why things are done. I’ve gotten dirty looks from people when I dared question why a church would spend over $100,000 on a library without ever asking if this library was in the church’s strategic plan. I didn’t get fired. “Attack the problem, not the person” is one of my favorite sayings.

Be intentional with the right motives: to make the church the most effective it can be. Analyze everything a church does. Ask about mission trips and their results. Determine if committees need to be dissolved or reconstituted. Don’t try to tweak and re-tweak programs – shut them down, assess their goals, and start new – that will get better results than continuing the same thing. Don’t be hamstrung by policies and bylaws which were created by previous generations but which aren’t relevant today. Ask why some positions and people rotate leadership roles and why new blood isn’t brought in. Ask why we use the same vendor instead of putting it out to bid. Ask what the financial numbers mean without any financial obfuscation.

The only thing sacred in a church is the text we all use – all the trappings of churches today are human creations and can thus be changed. That includes how we worship, study the Bible, establish church governance, etc. Don’t just let things happen – be intentional about everything in the church. Change may involve killing some of these sacred cows and that must be done carefully and intentionally. But ultimately the church will know there is a very good reason behind everything it does – to be the church God wants it to be.


Lead On!



  1. Insanity = doing the same thing over & over & expecting different results

    That’s why we restructured our Leadership structure several years back – we kept seeing similar problems continue to arise.