Today I’m a stop on the Whole Church Blog Tour. I asked author Mel Lawrenz 3 questions and he answered them below. I read this book on two flights a week ago. It’s worth your time to check it out.
1) In chapter 10, you talk about the struggles we all face when it comes to change. In your experience, what’s the first hurdle leaders need to overcome to change their culture from fragmentation to engagement?
MEL: Our biggest hurdle to overcome is our obsession with ourselves. All churches (and especially their leaders) tend to be focussed on themselves. We do that because we’re human; and we have fragmentation in our churches because we human beings are fragmented. We should come back to the question: what really constitutes success in a church? What are we really aiming at accomplishing? Whole Church contains 350 practical ideas on promoting cohesion in a church.
2) Is there a linear path from fragmentation to engagement? Or does each church’s individual context influence the steps leaders need to take?
MEL: Churches, like families, grow and improve in an organic way, not in a linear path, in my opinion (at least, with regard to the spiritual dynamics of a church). Engagement (as God’s resources being brought into contact with human need) happens when, in dozens of different ways, we close the God-gap. For instance, re-tooling worship so that it is a true encounter with God in every element of worship, or shaping small groups so that they produce true koinonia (not just gatherings), or getting a congregation really engaged with global needs by connecting with a school in southern Sudan. These are not a few steps along a linear path, but a pattern of a multitude of cohesive experiences.
3) You end the book with a chapter called “Choosing Wise Leaders” – why did you choose to finish with this?
MEL:Wisdom is a neglected theme of church leadership. Get leaders who are wise (in the James 3 sense), and they will know that engagement with God is where the real power of ministry comes from and they will raise the church above small-mindedness.