Thanks for tuning in to this week’s unSeminary podcast. Today I’m talking with Lisette Fraser, the COO/executive pastor of Hillsong Atlanta. Leading through change is at the core of serving as an executive pastor and church leader. Today Lisette is talking with us about where to begin when stepping out and leading change in this season.
- Leading change. // So much of the focus of our work as church leaders is leading through change and helping make things better, but at times it’s hard to know where to begin. Lisette realized that she has to start with vision when leading change. It’s not just about changing something we don’t like, or moving things around, it’s about figuring out what the right vision is and what God is inviting you to do. When the vision is clear it allows you to start thinking about everything else.
- Find what the vision is. // Prayer is a big piece of the puzzle in seeking what the Lord is doing. Often we can have a sense of discontentment in ministry and we know things aren’t quite right. Prayer helps point us to the outcome we desire and that points us to the vision. What are you trying to get after? Be very specific and invite others to help build a picture of what that looks like.
- Storytelling is a big part of leadership. // One of the things you have to do in leading change is create a shared story of future hope. A story connects to people and moves them. When thinking about change, think about what kind of stories remind us of what we wish we could get to. What do the stories tell us about what it could look like?
- Change your vantage point. // There are many things that shape how you see the world, from stage of life and age to ethnicity and culture. Our limited view can affect our ability to bring change because we’re trying to move something for a whole group of people. Invite other voices that represent different groups of people, and learn to tell stories that speak to these different groups. If we only tell stories from our limited vantage point, they won’t make sense to others who are outside of our worldview. Ultimately it’s about learning how to be a communicator who can talk to all different types of people, but also a listener who invites the voice of all kinds of different people to give you a fuller perspective.
- Have courage to step out. // Trying to put together a team made of different backgrounds can sound great, but also can create tension. It is hard work to make sure your table is diverse, but it reflects God’s kingdom so much more than a homogeneous structure. It may take some courage to step out and find those people who don’t look like you and think like you, but it’s worth the effort.
- Offer a place in the bigger community. // Post-covid people have felt so stuck and disconnected from both community and purpose that they are now very hungry for both of these things. God has designed us to do things for the purpose of the kingdom. Offer people a place to be in that bigger community and to be a part of something greater than themselves. Let them know that whatever part they play, it matters. Keep connecting what people are doing to the vision.
- Give them the opportunity to lead. // There are a lot of ways to get to the same point. If we want people to be invested, we have to give them the opportunity to lead and help us build what we’re after, while doing so with open hands. When people get to help build, they will be more personally invested in the vision. Don’t be afraid to allow people to experiment and coach them through any future changes. Create spaces for people to try things.
You can learn more about Lisette Fraser and her work at her website and the church at HillsongAtlanta. Plus, don’t forget to download the resource “Waking Up: Stories of Jesus, Race & Reconciliation” here.
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