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Reaching a goal includes transitions; those bridges of actions that carry you from one point of reality to the next. The effectiveness of these crossings will determine your success toward reaching your goal.
I offered the first 3 Rules of Transition I have learned by leading people from a favored status quo to a preferred future in my first post, 6 Rules of Transition, 1-3. I want to offer you the next three in this post.
- Transition involves as series of conflicts which will lead to defining moments. Conflict is the vocabulary of change. Any person, ministry or organization who decides to realize God's mission call on their lives must be prepared for conflict. This does not mean putting on a flak jacket and hunkering down for a war. It demands picking up a towel and washbasin and serving those on mission with. But, when the conflict created by moving from the status quo down the road to God's future for you, some conflicts will emerge as defining moments that clarify the movement for those involved. Jesus used conflict among his core group to define great leadership in his movement. (Mark 10:41-45) Paul embraced his conflict with the church in Corinth to define the true nature of comfort and partnership in ministry. (2 Cor. 7:5-12) Servant leaders allow conflict in transition to become defining moments for the movement.
- Transition is best led by a servant leader who has made himself or herself servant to the mission and leads by serving those on mission with him or her. When the mission is the focus of the work of transition, then the group can find unity in the middle of their differences. When the issue is not the personal preference of the leader or those being lead, then how to accomplish the mission best becomes the topic of movement. When servant leaders keep their efforts on accomplishing God's mission call on the group, then trust rather than suspicion is built among the followers. Jesus was solely about his mission to seek and to save those who were lost, (Luke 19:10) and his ministry was about that and that alone. Conflict arose by completing that mission, but his goal was to please his Father in Heaven, not please or placate those who interacted with him.
- Transition is fluid and must adapt to the dynamics of people and circumstances. Paul's path from Antioch to Rome was not a straight line. We too often attend the work of the leader and his or her plans to execute change, but those they lead and the circumstances that happen outside the control of the leader impact transition too. Ask Moses as he led the Children of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land. Transitions are journeys of faith that seldom follow the path of the original plan. Be prepared to encounter twists and turns that will deepen not only your trust in God but lead you to a place you did not even see when you started.
What are some of your lessons learned from leading through transitions?