People: Know your audience.
People: Know your audience. I use to teach public speaking, and one of the most significant principles is to know your audience. Why am I saying this? During the transitions of a merger, you will have three different audiences. The church/business you are currently leading, the church/business you are merging with, and new people/visitors. Don’t forget about the new people/visitors!
Here’s the deal: “The best disciples haven’t been reached yet.” I am personally not interested in fishing in the aquarium. Meaning, I am not motivated by reaching people who are already Christians MORE than those who have no relationship with Jesus. With that being said, it’s ok to lovingly call each of these churches to a heightened level of awareness of new people during this transition, especially if they are claiming to be “mature in Christ.” When all three groups are present, you must steer all conversations to a message that is applicable to everyone.
Why did I make this the second post in regards to mergers? Because it’s so important. If we don’t pay attention to this principle, we are going to end up needing to go through another drastic change because we didn’t grow. Yes, it will feel like you are changing the oil while you are driving the car, but that’s the name of the game here.
changing the oilwhile you are driving the car
Don’t confuse the visitors. Represent one church. Get rid of inside jargon and lead people with a vision of a healthy church. When you can, separate the audiences in order to pastor and lead them individually. Most likely, it will work like this:
• The stronger church will be CONCERNED (nervous about where we are going and losing their identity).
• The weaker church will be CRUSHED (hurting from the past, feeling like they failed, preserving what is left).
• The visitor will be CONFUSED (desiring clarity and specificity).
You can set up a time to talk to those groups based on their needs but on Sunday morning, you must speak to the greatest common denominator in the room. You are not avoiding the issues, you are being aware of your audience and creating a church where people can bring their friends.