This incident points out the importance of lay leadership but also the need to get everyone on board before actions are taken. When a church begins to think about transformation, it is important to get everyone on the bus. They may not all be going in the same direction initially, but once the bus leaves the station, everyone needs to be going to the same place.
How is this possible?
First, the pastor and clergy staff must be on board. The ministers of a church provide not on the administrative but the spiritual leadership of the church. Since church transformation is rooted in being part of the mission of God in the world, they must believe in the process and support it. If the ministerial staff is not enthusiastic (“inspired by God”), the process will have little momentum.
Second, key leadership must buy in. Whatever the leadership group is called--church council, session, etc., they must have time to understand, agree to, and commit to the process. In the best-case scenario, the leadership group is representative of the entire congregation. They provide a place to discuss, question, and clarify the process the church will pursue. Any concerns that arise there usually will reflect the questions that the larger congregation will ask.
Third, congregants must have opportunities to understand and engage in the process. If we truly believe that the Spirit of God is present among the people of God, every person in the congregation must have the opportunity to be involved in the process. Of course, some will choose not to participate, but the decision is up to the individual. Even dissenting voices can provide insights and lead to clarity about the way forward.
As a church enters into a process of transformation, leadership must be defined in the broadest possible way and challenged to invest in the process.