Throughout the second part of our new book, Church Transfusion, Phil Helfer and I elaborate on the things we find necessary to bring organic transfusion to a church. Below is simply a general overall process for you to think through. This is not a formal five-step plan. It is simply a bird’s-eye view of the process of transfusion. To bring transfusion to a church body, we suggest that you follow this simple progressive pattern.
1. See it. Change agents and innovators must see the potential of a transfused church. They must understand and envision an organic body functioning in complete connection with the Head. If we cannot re-imagine what can be we will just tolerate what is.
2. Want it. If there is going to be a contagion of health within the body, then those who would spread the healthy DNA must want it badly enough to endure the process necessary to bring complete change to a congregation. It must be birthed first as a passion in the leader’s own heart before it becomes transfusion in the leader’s church.
3. Pray for it. The passion for this change needs to be such that it often becomes the subject of your prayers. “Prayer,” as someone once said, “is the slender nerve that moves the muscle of omnipotence.” If you want it badly enough, you will pray for it passionately. If you find you haven’t been praying for it, perhaps that means you don’t really want it badly enough yet.
4. Pay for it. There is a cost to change, and not to tell you this up front would be misleading. If a fully functioning body, with each part connected to the Head and reaching out into the world with the transformative gospel, is indeed worthwhile, you will pay the price necessary to see it happen. People who are comfortable with the way things have been will resist the changes. Doing church organically may mean less financial security for leadership. Leaders who have developed a reputation for their expertise may find that the new changes mean that their importance is lessened as they must become equippers of others rather than specialized leaders on which the church depends. These are but a few of the costs that some will have to face. Count the cost up front, which is what Jesus taught; then if it is worth it, pay for it.
5. Do it. Make it happen. It will come about in phases, not all at once. It will start small and slow, but if things are done right, it will increase in speed and breadth of transformation over time. You must first live as a connected member of Christ’s body before you can ask others to do the same. Personal transformation precedes community transformation. Live it out yourself first.