Well you can, but the results are less than best.
A few years ago I was talking to one of our pastors who had been engaged with us for a long time. The church had just gone multisite and it went very well for them for that past year.
He asked: “What do you think we will have to address now?”
I said, “That depends. If you want to consider growing in the multisite expressions you are going to have to focus on leadership development more. And if you are trying to do that, you had better address some of the financial issues. Your giving might look good for the size you were last year, but at your growth rate, it’s clear to me that the people need to be taught more on generosity.”
After a few weeks, he called me back.
“I have decided that we should stand pat right now. The staff doesn’t want any more change. They are struggling now getting their heads around multisite and layering any additional plans will tip them over. I think we will just wait.”
Seven years later they are still waiting.
This is a church that has a lot of things going for it. Good location, facilities, opportunities for ministry. It’s a pretty good church.
But since that time they have actually declined in attendance. Declined in giving. Stopped developing staff. Some good ones have left for other places and others have stepped in.
I think the decision to stand pat was the wrong decision.
I understand how leaders can feel overwhelmed when navigating change initiatives. I get it emotionally, spiritually and leadershiply. But standing pat for too long kills momentum, enthusiasm and morale.
As you think about your leadership and your church for the next year – What are the growth areas? What are the areas that need an intentional plan to be shaped up and developed?
If you want to stand pat, that is an intentional decision. That decision has consequences.
Today that same pastor is considering succession. The issues that need to be addressed are now worse than if the church had been intentional then to address the issues at hand. Sure, they can engage them now and they should.
But now fighting lethargy and getting unfrozen is the issue.
Call me an old man, but in my experience, it’s always best to stay moving in the direction you want to go by trying to stay up to day, moving forward and working on at least one area of your ministry all the time. It may not always go as planned, but you are moving ahead.
And may you never call me seven years from now and say “We decided to stand pat.”