Leading Change in the Midst of the Messiness of Ministry with Mike Bonem

Welcome back to the unSeminary podcast. Today we’re talking with Mike Bonem, a coach and consultant who helps church leaders with vision discernment, organizational design and strategy.

In the last three years, everyone has had to make massive changes. Now as churches have found their new normal and are looking to the future, there can be pressure from within to return to the way things were. Listen in as Mike talks through how we can lead our congregations and staff through change which pushes the mission forward.

  • Resisting change. // As churches have made changes about what to start and stop doing, there has been an intense resistance to changes from some people. When people are resistant to change, they may not want to let go of their comfort. Seek to understand where that desire to hold onto comfort is coming from. Are they scared that the change might fail, or pull the church apart? Explore what’s underneath their resistance.
  • Explore different opinions. // When people are resisting, try not to immediately think of them as your enemies. We can’t only surround ourselves with people who think like we do. Lean into them rather than away. Explore their opinions and be open to valid points they are making.
  • Is the mission clear? // Give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are committed to the mission. If someone has questions, realize they may have a different interpretation of the mission than you do. Talk through your understanding of what the mission means and the implications of it.
  • The next step. // The classic strategic planning model looks 3 to 5 years into the future, but in the current season Mike encourages churches to simply focus on their next right step as informed by the mission. Given your mission, what is your best interpretation of what the next steps are that you should take over the next six to twelve months?
  • Leading change through the mess. // Mike’s book The Art of Leading Change: Ten Perspectives on the Messiness of Ministry focuses on the part of our work that doesn’t fit nicely into a spreadsheet. Working with people is messy and unpredictable and the ideas in the book will help you move a group of people toward a new destination.
  • Keeping the right mindset. // A leader’s job is to get people aligned, and part of that requires bringing people into agreement with the course of action being taken. But people pleasing refers to a mindset of not wanting anyone to ever be upset or frustrated with you. When church leaders give in to that, it can stall any change or progress in the organization.

You can learn more about Mike and his book at www.mikebonem.com.

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Episode Transcript

Rich Birch — Well, hey, everybody. Welcome to the unSeminary podcast. So glad that you have decided to tune in. You know every week we bring you a leader who will both inspire and equip you and today is no exception. Super excited to have Mike Bonem with us. He is a coach, a consultant, but more than that he’s a friend of church leaders like you. He’s been in this ah for you know, 20+ years, works with congregations, denominational leaders, nonprofits – really to help through vision discernment, strategy, all different kinds of things, organizational design. But like I say, Mike more than all that is a friend of church leaders and so so honored to have him on the show. Mike, welcome. So glad you’re here.

Mike Bonem — Thanks so much, Rich. I’m really excited to be back on the show with you.

Rich Birch — Yeah, glad that you’re here. What fill out the picture there a little bit for – what what did I miss on the thirty second “who is Mike” conversation?

Mike Bonem — No I mean you nailed it pretty well, and um I really like the way you said you know a friend of pastors and ministry leaders because that’s what I want to be. I’ve I’ve served as an executive pastor for a decade and had a career in business before that. And probably the most important thing of who is Mike Bonem is, I’m married and we have four adult children and a couple of grandchildren.

Rich Birch — Love it. So good. Yeah I know my wife as we were talking before we got on. We’re in the the empty nester phase or starting the empty nester phase. And she’s eagerly looking forward to that next phase which you mentioned there at the end. And I’m like don’t rush it. Don’t rush it. You know, but we’ll see. It’ll it’ll be great. Well it was funny before we got on, again I said this to Mike, I was like it feels like you know when were we on again? And I know I know covid seems to have like it makes it has made it weird to think about time, like everything’s kind of strange. And look back it was 2016 last time Mike was on, but I’m actually an avid follower of Mike, read his newsletter. It’s so good. Such great stuff that comes out of him. It’s been quite a while. These last number of years man change has been on the horizon. You have a great position in that you interact with a lot of different church leaders. What what is what are you seeing as some of those changes that church leaders are continuing to deal with that are like hey it’s it’s kind of like top of mind – things that come that church leaders are wrestling with these days in this whatever phase we find ourselves in our churches these days?

Mike Bonem — Well, that’s just it. I think we’re not even sure what phase we find ourselves in, right? The there was, you know, it’s it’s it’s interesting to think about change at this stage. You know, kind of beyond the onset of the pandemic because everybody had to make massive changes right when the pandemic hit in the spring of 2020 and I was surprised actually at how well people made those changes—big churches, small churches—how quickly and how well for the most part they adapted. I think it’s been much more of a struggle ah, coming out of the pandemic. I heard lots of leaders in the first 6 to 12 months of the pandemic saying oh this is ah this is a huge opportunity for us to rethink everything. And when we get on the other side of the pandemic, we’re gonna be fundamentally different than we were before. This is ah this is that great opportunity to break the mold and yet many of the people that I interact with, they’re falling right back into that mold. Or or probably more accurately they feel like they’re being pushed back into that old mold by you know by a number of different conditions. And so as much as anything right now I think one of the big change questions is, can we really make some some significant shifts in how we think about doing church?

Rich Birch — Yeah I’m a… for longterm listeners to the podcast, they know that I’m an an avid follower of the Disney company as a company, and you know love mostly what they produce. And you know I just read this interesting article where their CEO was talking about the the change on the movie side. How how people consume movies, and how they’ve, you know, the thing that was interesting I thought for us in our little world is is they were saying, hey our read on it is people are fundamentally changed in how the types of movies they want to go and see. And the idea of the event, you know, is still a deal people will show up for, in their case, big Avengers movies, big Star Wars, whatever. But that probably the shift around you know, smaller movies and people won’t go out to buy popcorn for those. They’ll just watch them on their, in their case, Disney+. which got me thinking about our world and like, you know, there was a lot of those conversations two, three years ago – what difference is the church online going to make? And and it does feel like we’re on kind of the shakeout side of all that where like it’s okay. We and I hear it this all the time from church leaders. We have all these people watching online, still no idea who those people are, no idea how that fits in our ministry model. No idea what to do with them.

Mike Bonem — Right.

Rich Birch — And you know we’re looking at our own kind of what we used to call in-person attendance like all of that we’re we’re still wrestling with kind of the impact of how all that you know what that looks like going forward. Change, it is really a constant.

Rich Birch — Um now when I think about change, so you mentioned something interesting there. You talked about they’re being pushed into change. Ah talk to me more about that. And and is because because my experience has been and it could be that at just the seat I’m in. I feel more like resistance from change, like it’s like there’s more people around me saying like, oh I don’t want to change. But tell me more about that. Let’s talk about that idea being pushed in or resistance to change. What’s that look like?

Mike Bonem — Well what what I said was they’re being pushed back into the old mold.

Rich Birch — Oh, right. Yes, ah yes, yes.

Mike Bonem — So it it’s exactly what you’re talking about. It’s the resistance to change. It’s the you know the for many church leaders. The people that are back showing up, and that are still faithfully giving money to the church, ah, many of those people are the ones who are saying can we just go back to the way it was before?

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Mike Bonem — And so it’s it’s so it is that resistance. So this golden opportunity to do some things differently is running into intense resistance from people saying, we just want to have it the way it was in 2019.

Rich Birch — Right.

Mike Bonem — Can we go back to our same Sunday schedule? Can we go back to our same you know programming, and do everything the way it was? And so yeah, it’s very, we’re saying the same thing just using a couple of different words, Rich.

Rich Birch — Yeah, I love it. So let’s pull that apart. What is it what is what what are some ways that resistance could show up in our people? What is that what could that look like in you know, maybe some of those conversations, or some of the ways people might ah you know engage with us when we when we talk about change?

Mike Bonem — Oh you know I’m um, one executive pastor I’ve worked with you know they changed their whole worship format when Covid hit. When they came back in person they said we don’t have enough people to do a traditional and a contemporary service. We’re going to do a blended service. And, you know, this is not a I’m not advocating for or against the blended style of worship, but you know her opinion is it’s really worked for them. And yet ah more than a year into being back in a format that they believe is working and most people are saying is working well, they have a handful of people that are still saying, when are we going to go back to the old schedule with two worship services – one traditional and one contemporary.

Rich Birch — Interesting. Interesting.

Mike Bonem — You know, why why can’t we have it the way we had it before?

Rich Birch — Yes, yes. Well I so literally this morning I was out for a walk, talking to a friend church leader on phone, and he said he was in a fairly senior leadership meeting – similar resistance. Ah, where they were talking in about a change a potential change, and literally the words that were used by—and this is a like church that’s looking to reach people and do you know all kinds of things—he he said you know these these this group of senior leaders, literally one of them said, well I’m just really comfortable how things are now. Like I’m I’m… And and he was like, whoa, wait a second! Like so, you know, when since when did comfortability become the the value as opposed to the mission of our church? How do we not just run over people ah, in that? Because I I guess my tendency is like and I, you know, and I I reacted strongly when this leader said that. I was like, wow you got the wrong people around the table. I didn’t quite say that, but you know that would be my natural a tendency. Now that’s not the right way to go but talk me through how, coach me on that. How should we be thinking differently about maybe the people who are resisting change and not just putting them in a category of like, okay those people we need to get rid of those people. Those people are not the people we want around the table.

Mike Bonem — Yeah, no I think it’s a great question, Rich. And the and it it happens all the time. Sometimes people are not as explicit in saying, “I like my comfort.” And and that does become a real obstacle to change. What what I would say is we need to understand what they mean by comfort. You know where where’s that coming from? Is it… because it’s red flag for me too. But like I I know if I heard that from a church staff member today, one thing that would run through my mind is it’s been a hard two and a half three years for church staff. It… Does this “I’m comfortable” just mean I’ve been running so hard for this last two and a half years that I just want to catch my breath for a minute before we launch into something new? Or is it somebody saying, is is comfort really synonymous with I’m scared of what that change might entail. I’m scared we might fail. I’m scared that, you know, that we’re gonna that there’s gonna be major conflict over it that’s going to pull our church apart. Those are those are really different ways… Or is it I’m just comfortable and, you know, I don’t want Jesus to make me uncomfortable, right? Which you…

Rich Birch — Right, right, right, right.

Mike Bonem — So so I would I what I would hope that a leader would do if they found themselves in that kind of conversation is to get curious about what the person really means when they say “I’m comfortable” and what’s underneath that.

Rich Birch — Yeah I love that. And and instead of just volley… I feel like my natural tendency would be to volley back with, hey this is the mission. Here’s the strategy. We agreed to this thing that was on paper. We’re pushing ahead. Instead of what you’re what I hear you saying, I think what I hear you saying is like slowing down. Hey, let’s take some time. It’s the, you know, a lot of executive pastors listing in. It’s the pastor side of Executive Pastor, right? It’s the, Hey let’s actually try to to listen, to care for people in the midst of that. What does that look like, that kind of you know the more relational, we’ll call it the soft side? What are some ways that we could do that um, you know, if we’re find ourselves with some potential resistors to change?

Mike Bonem — Well, you know a starting point is we’re being more and more conditioned socially to to think of everything in the world as being divided into into two camps – those who are for me, those who are against me, right?

Rich Birch — Oh that’s so good.

Mike Bonem — I mean that the and and so the the very first thing you have to do is is try to recognize when that mindset is popping up for you and and and purge it, right? It’s like no, I’m not I’m not going to to immediately think of people who are resisting as being my enemy. Ah and then to to really to lean into them rather than leaning away from them. Rather than saying look I’m, you know, I just want to surround myself with people who think like me, I need to pull back and say no, you know, actually this person who’s resisting may have a valid opinion I need to explore what’s behind that, what’s underneath that. You know tell me more of why you know you think this is not a good idea.

Mike Bonem — Maybe, you know, they’re gonna they’re they will have thought of something you’ve not thought of. You know, the I think of the kind of big picture visionary leader who says, oh yeah, we need to we need to charge up this hill. And the more detailed-oriented person in the congregation—whether it’s a staff member or a volunteer leader—who says, wait a minute I have three questions before we charge up that hill. The visionary leader hears that as resistance. The person really actually had some legitimate questions, like which side of the hill are we going up?

Rich Birch — Right.

Mike Bonem — Right? That that actually makes a difference.

Rich Birch — Yes, yes – I love that. That’s a great… I love that – that’s a great analogy. Like and and trying to see folks as not the us versus them that all those which can be often, like you say, false dichotomies. Like let’s slow down, hey we’re we’re you know… People haven’t particularly when we talk about leaders that are still with us, the people that are still journeying with us now, there ah, there have been lots of opportunities over the last two three years for them to opt out. The fact that they’re still with us means that they’re committed to the mission, right? They’re not, they’re at some level have stuck in because there’ve been a number of places along the way where they could have opted out. They could have pulled away.

Mike Bonem — Yeah. I think the other thing actually that what you just said brings up for me is you said they’re committed to the mission. And I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and believe that they really are committed to the mission. But I’m also going to wonder, is the mission clear enough? You know, what like when I’m saying we need to do this, charge up begin charge up this hill…

Rich Birch — Yep.

Mike Bonem — …because that’s where the mission leads us. And somebody else is raising questions about it, it may be that I have a different interpretation of the mission than they do.

Rich Birch — Right.

Mike Bonem — And we need to go all the way back to the start, right? And say let’s let’s talk about the mission. What is it what is our understanding and what it means and what are the implications of it? And that can be an incredibly important conversation, especially right now.

Rich Birch — Yeah, that’s a good insight I think particularly in again, whatever this phase is ah you know that we’re kind of post- whatever in mid- whatever. Um it does feel like we have to come back to revisiting the mission vision stuff and keep in in front of that keeping that in front of people working hard to say, hey, what do what do we what can we do to ensure that people are are with us? And doing the extra work on our side, owning that. Hey, that’s our job. That’s our job to keep that in front of people. Um, now when you think about ah, change in this season, what else is kind of a top of mind as you’re wrestling through what it could look like, how how we should be thinking about change? What are you learning on that front as you’re leading people?

Mike Bonem — So, you know, I’ve I’ve been working with with churches, Rich, for 20 years I guess. Or yeah, more than 20 years now. And ah early on um I really was much more of an advocate of the classic strategic planning model that looks 3 to 5 years into the future. And there’s still value in that at times. But but especially in this season I think we need to focus a lot more on what’s the right next step.

Mike Bonem — It needs to be and it clearly needs to be informed by the mission. But you know thinking we can make plans that stretch out two years, three years into the future just doesn’t seem very realistic or even very wise stewardship right now. I’d I’d much rather focus on, given our mission, what is our best interpretation of what the next steps are that we should take over the next six to twelve months.

Rich Birch — Yeah, that’s what I was going to ask you…

Mike Bonem — And if we can get agreement on that. Yeah.

Rich Birch — What is the what is the time horizon that you’re thinking about because I think that’s a good insight. How far out are you thinking – a year, or kind of like the next budget cycle, or what what does that look like?

Mike Bonem — I think yeah I think 6 to 12 months.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Mike Bonem — Six six months is long enough to run an experiment to try something new and to either make some assessment that this seems to be working, or or it needs to be it could work but it needs to be tweaked, or this wasn’t a good idea at all.

Mike Bonem — So so yeah, kind of and it depends obviously on what kind of initiative you’re talking about. If if we want to do something ministry with a local elementary school, we probably ought to make a commitment to them for the entire school year, right?

Rich Birch — Yes, yes.

Mike Bonem — Or at least for a semester.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Mike Bonem — Um, if if if we’re talking about something that actually has implications for the facility that’s going to require some remodeling of the facility, we may need to look a little bit longer, right?

Rich Birch — Right.

Mike Bonem — Because once once you start tearing up or adding onto a building, you know you don’t change that after six months.

Rich Birch — Right. Yeah, exactly. Yeah that stuff is more permanent than we think.

Mike Bonem — But for a lot of those ministry initiatives yeah 6 to twelve months is a good time frame.

Rich Birch — Yeah and there’s a new.… It’s it’s true I find myself in similar conversations where we’re we’re exercising our um you know midyear budget reevaluation process more than we have, you know, in the last ten fifteen years. You know, we’re we’re working harder on the, okay you know we’re halfway through this year, what do we need to readjust? How do we need to um, look at… And you know the interesting thing and this this brings us to… you you released a book a few months ago called The Art of Leading Change: Ten Perspectives on the Messiness of Ministry. The thing why I appreciate this book and appreciate this insight is there is a part of this that you’ve captured so well. Ah that um, there’s an art side to what we do that’s not science. It’s not it doesn’t fit super well in a spreadsheet, which I know for us who like spreadsheets ah, that it can be difficult. Talk to me about that – talk to me about what you mean by the art of leading change.

Mike Bonem — Yeah, the, and thanks for asking, Rich. The that book that I wrote twenty years ago was um, leading was called Leading Congregational Change, and I often introduced it when I would speak at a conference or a seminar and say, this is going to be more about the science of leading change. The it’s the it’s the process. It was based ah partly on John Cotter’s model from his business book, Leading Change. So it’s you know here’s the steps you need to take, here’s the you know here’s how you think about it in a real concrete scientific way.

Mike Bonem — And and I would always say even when I was introducing that twenty years ago is there’s a whole art to leading change. That’s much harder to convey and that I’m not going to be talking about in today’s seminar. And so I finally came back to that idea you know here with this book that was just released, and said you know what, it’s time to talk about the art, the messiness which always comes back to people. It’s always related to people. And actually what we’ve talked about earlier in this conversation are a couple of the points in the book. The the idea that resistors are not the enemy, and the idea of take the right next step are 2 of those ideas that that I draw on in talking about the art of leading change – the the things that are more subjective and harder to to codify in a spreadsheet.

Rich Birch — Yeah, I love that. And I think that acknowledges it’s that interesting tension, right? That that um, it’s It’s both sides. We need to have we do need to have a science. We do need to have approach. We can’t just be willy-nilly. Talk to me more about the messiness. Let’s talk about that a little bit because ah, you know we all have the short the hand joke for that. It’s like oh Ministry would be so great if it wasn’t for the people. Or you know, like we all have some way of kind of ah you know that’s like the black humor of a surgeon who’s like you know, making fun of the people he’s working on. We have that kind of in our mind like, Gosh this is just tough with people. Ah, talk me through that. Why is it so messy?

Mike Bonem — Well because people are involved, and people are messy is is the short answer, right?

Rich Birch — Yes, yes, yes.

Mike Bonem — And so you know we we we we talked earlier about well the people that are there are still committed to the mission. But because we’re humans we all hear that mission through our own filters, and through our own lenses, and we interpret it slightly differently. And so then we say we’re going to make this decision, and this is obvious what we should do because of our because it’s consistent with our mission. And you know in a room of 10 people 3 of them fully agree, 3 of them kind of cock their head and they have a little bit of a question, then and you know 2 of were checked out on their phone so they weren’t paying good attention, right?

Rich Birch — Ah, you’re on Twitter.

Mike Bonem — But but but but you know what one one or two of them say oh the no, that’s not what I understood the mission to be at all.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Mike Bonem — And… Right? And that’s just the the human nature. You mix into that that in some of our churches we have. We’ve put people or allowed people to be in leadership positions who are probably not as mature in their faith as they should be to be in carrying those leadership responsibilities. And so they enter into a discussion or a decision, you know, not necessarily asking genuinely seeking what would God want us to do. And that makes it even messier. So so I mean those are just a couple of the reasons that that it gets so messy, I think.

Rich Birch — Yeah, and then you you mix on top of that, like that’s a great vivid example of those 10 people, you know, you mix on top of that the power dynamics of who you are versus the people you’re leading. And, man I’ve been in in that where you realize you get you get down a road and you realize oh like six months ago you disagreed and never said anything, and here we are today ah living with six months of ah, you know, what I just didn’t understand what was going on. And um. um, you know we’re now having to retrench and and let’s go back to where we were six months ago and let me lean in as a leader I need to because I didn’t create an opportunity for you to actually speak what your concern was. Um and wow that’s ah you know that can be difficult. I I wish I did not have vivid examples of that in my mind but it it it feels like, man, that’s just a normal part or has been a normal part of you know of leading um.

Rich Birch — Talk to me about our desire… so related to all of this is is this whole people pleasing issue. Um, you know so many of us get engaged in leadership and um there’s a part of it that is rallying people. There’s a part of it that’s like, hey a part of my job is it’s like the politician side. It’s the mayoral side. I’ve said in other context of like, hey our job is to kind of get people aligned. And and so there’s there’s a good part of that, but then there’s also a part of that that can be literally just people-pleasing. It’s it’s political at its kind of base level. Talk to me about that. What how… is that helpful, not helpfu? How how do we how do we think about that?

Mike Bonem — Well I agree with what you said. Yes, a leader’s job is to is to get people aligned. And so and and so and alignment certainly has an element of, you know, the the people who are are you know agreeing are, you know, they agree. They’re they’re happy with this course of action that we’re talking about taking. We’re going going to, you know, we’re going to launch this satellite campus and we want people, we want our other leaders, to say, yes, we agree. That’s a good idea.

Mike Bonem — But people pleasing to me is when a pastor really falls into a mindset of I can’t ever let anyone be disappointed in me, or frustrated or upset with me. And when when that becomes the mindset then it can really stall any kind of change or any kind of progress for the organization because there’s always somebody who’s not going to be happy with the decision. And and so you’ll you’ll end up boiling something down to a much less bold initiative that kind of looks like a lowest common denominator decision.

Mike Bonem — And the other thing that people I think don’t realize when they when they go too far towards that let’s-get-everybody-on-board, people-pleasing mentality is you’ll actually upset the more innovative, forward-thinking leaders and you may lose some of them of the process.

Mike Bonem — Now that they they often won’t say I’m unhappy with you. But so you think about the person who was most excited about that new idea to launch a campus, and was was actually going to be a part of the core team to to go and they were ready ready to launch out. And then somewhere along the way 3 or 4 people said, oh we’re not sure that’s a good idea right now, and you pull back away from that and say maybe we need to wait six or twelve months before we launch the campus. Now those bold people who are ready to be, who were on board from the start, they may not come back and say, Pastor, I’m really unhappy with you. They might just silently check out.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Mike Bonem — And so in your effort to please one group of people you actually just leave somebody else without even knowing it.

Rich Birch — Well, yeah, and there’s that—man, I’ve seen that tension over the years—there’s the frankly the most your more innovative um passionate um leaders, they have the ability because of who they are. To check out and to literally leave ah, you know a lot quicker than ah, you know, than than people than maybe some of those resistors that we’re talking about, people that are um, you know that are slowing us down a little bit, because of just who they are. And that you know man that’s that. That could be dangerous because you’re you’re you can lose some of that that innovation pretty quickly.

Mike Bonem — Yeah, that’s exactly right. And it may be that they will just check out rather than actually leave, and that’s just a that’s a loss, right? That’s a missed opportunity.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Mike Bonem — There was some research a dozen or so years ago of really high profile Christian leaders in business, and politics, and and media. And one of one of the most striking findings that came out of that—it’s it’s by Michael Lindsay in a book called Faith in the Halls of Power—and one of the most striking findings was that many of those people were not very engaged in their local churches. They were members, but they were not engaged. And one of the primary reasons they gave for not being engaged is that they found the the slow moving bureaucracy and unwillingness to change in local church to be so frustrating that they decided to give their energies like to a large Christian nonprofit where they felt like they could have better and better impact. And you think about that if you have a business significant business leader has great gifts to offer, but the way we’re doing leadership actually causes them just to check out – what what a loss for our local churches.

Rich Birch — Yeah, what a loss – absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Interesting. Well so I when I got to say when I read this, when I saw this book, the thing that struck me on this is that this I think could be a great resource for leadership teams to go through together. It’s felt like one of those great books where like you’re like the what you do so well, being the friend, the consultant sitting on this outside of the circle and saying, hey friends like here’s some things that you should be thinking about. Ah and let’s talk through that together. I felt like, man, you’ve translated that well. When you were writing this book, what were you hoping the kind of impact or the use of it? I pictured it as a great book for our leadership team to do together hey this would be less than like ah just a solo person reading it. Sure you could get something out of it as a solo person reading it by yourself. But man, I think it would be even better even if it’s just one more person, one other person that you could read it with. Really struck me that that would be the best context, but tell me what you were thinking. How how did you hope this book would be used in churches?

Mike Bonem — No, very much what you said, Rich. Yeah I would I’d see it as being a book for a leadership team to look at together. Certainly, like you said, I think one person could still get a lot out of it. You know, that that conversation that you talked about with your friend earlier earlier today. I would hope that that when that resistance popped up, when that person said “I’m comfortable” that if your friend had read this book, the idea that would go through their mind is, oh yeah, resistors are not the enemy. I don’t need to immediately, you know, kind of treat this person as as a bad person.

Mike Bonem — But it’s even better if a leadership team can can wrestle with those ideas together. And so the the 10 perspectives which are the subtitle, they’re all written as a sort of short, hopefully the readers would find them to be pithy phrases that a leadership team could could all hang on to. So one of the one of those perspectives is “Who is Not in the Room?”. And the idea behind that is that as leaders we we can quickly fall into this pattern of of making decisions just thinking about the perspectives of the people who are around the leadership table.

Mike Bonem — But as a church we’re supposed to be thinking about the people who are not there. It goes back to that comfort question again, right? Who’s not here? Who’s and not a part of our church that God is calling us to reach, that God is calling us to have a positive impact with? And and you know again, the the chapter title and the phrase is Who is Not in the Room? because I would love for a leadership team to just embed that phrase into their thinking so that whenever they’re making leadership decisions they say, hey before we make this decision, have we really thoughtfully considered who’s not in the room?

Rich Birch — Right, right. Love it. Love it. Well and there’s and and there’s so many of these, friends, in this in this book. So you know… Lead with Trust, Dig Beneath the Surface, Take the Right Next Step, Heavy Loads Require Strong Teams. I think this is a it’s a culture shaping book in that sense where it gives, you know, great kind of concepts to hang on to. Mike, where where could people pick up copies of this? Again friends I’m encouraging you not to pick up one; I’d love for you to pick up a bunch of these, but ah, you know where where can people pick up copies of of this book?

Mike Bonem — I mean it’s on all the right, you know, it’s on Amazon and all the regular online ordering spots, and and you know on my website. There’s a link. There’s a short blurb about it and a link to order it as well.

Rich Birch — Yeah, and what’s your website address again?

Mike Bonem — It’s mikebonem.com so and Bonem is spelled…

Rich Birch — Love it.

Mike Bonem — …B O N E M.

Rich Birch — Yeah I would love for people to go over there, like I say. So I’m a subscriber, I read Mike’s stuff when it comes. I I get a lot of church stuff and I can say when Mike’s stuff shows up in my inbox, I read it, so you should as well. Super helpful content and, you know, thoughtful, and just just fantastic. So I I would go over there and and and subscribe to Mike’s list for sure. Anything else, you’d like to share…

Mike Bonem — I appreciate that, Rich. Yeah thanks.

Rich Birch — Oh come on. It’s good stuff and anything else… Ah you’ll notice I don’t say that every time other people are on. Um, anything else that ah you’d like to share, or anything else we’d like to kind of talk about just as we’re coming to land today’s episode?

Mike Bonem — You know, I guess the one other thing and just in this broad heading of change that I’m aware of is how hard it can be to be the change leader. And so for pastors, senior pastors, executive pastors, others who are listening to this, and you know you’re feeling like, yeah gosh, you know, there’s some change we really need to make. And then at the same time maybe you’re just feeling just discouraged, right? Thinking about how hard it’s going to be. I at least want to acknowledge that and honor that. Yes it’s hard. And I think one of the most one of the most important things you could do for yourself if you if if I’m describing you right now is do a little bit of self-care and soul care. And make sure you’re not doing it all by yourself. If you don’t have a team that’s working with you to clarify what changes are needed and then to… And it goes back again to one of those chapter titles, Heavy Loads – to have a team that’s going to help you lift that heavy load. Do that before you do anything else.

Rich Birch — That’s so good. Well, friends, I really appreciate Mike. I appreciate his leadership. You should follow him for sure. Like I say pick up a bunch of copies of this book, and and follow along with him I think you’ll be you’ll be blessed by by doing that. I think it’ll help your ministry as we face a tough season. Mike, I appreciate you ah being here. Thanks so much for being here today.

Mike Bonem — Thanks so much, Rich. Really appreciate your podcast and all that you do, and and glad to have this opportunity.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.