Your Ideas Won’t Happen with Someone Else’s Team

I’m pulling this post from the archives because I was reading Matthew 9:16 about putting new wine into old wineskins or sewing un-shrunk cloth on an old garment.  In Biblical days wine was kept in a leather bag or “skin,” because it could stretch as the wine aged.  But once it got old, the bag locked into it’s shape and lost the ability to stretch.  The concept is particularly important when it comes to leadership.  A few years ago I was asked to consult with a major ministry that had been on the national scene for a long time.  Now, a new leader wanted to bring it up to date – make it more contemporary, fresh, and relevant.  But the first thing I noticed was
his leadership team.  The truth is it wasn’t his team – it was the previous leader’s team.  These men and women had been the ministry leaders for the last 30 years.  All they knew was how to do things the old way.  And I predicted they would fight to the death to keep the status quo.

Guess what?  I was right.

I strongly encouraged him to bring in his own new team, but he refused.  He considered them long-time, loyal employees.   So within a few months I left because change was never going to happen.  Sure enough, the old guard dug in and refused to make any changes at all.  In fact I was surprised at how intransigent they became.   Debt piled up, and it simply got worse.

Don’t put new wine into old wineskins.  New thinking isn’t enough.  You need a new team to implement new ideas.  It’s no surprise that a new president brings a new team into the White House, or a new coach brings his own staff to a new team.

Don’t try to make your ideas happen with somebody else’s team.  Because in most cases, the old team can’t stretch their thinking any better than old wineskins can adjust to new wine.

Have you experienced the struggle between an old team and a new leader?


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Paul Forrest

    I recently saw an interview with Oral Roberts that made me think about this topic. He said, “You change your methods, but hold fast to your principles”. There were a lot of people scratching their heads in the 60’s as he pioneered a new university the world had never seen. New method, same principles.

    As new media and new ideas are implemented in Christian media, we still need to be careful not to throw out the principles for sake of the method. The production values are not more important than the content – they enhance the content.

    Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is a perfect example of a ministry that has found a way to “reshape their ministry”, and reach a younger audience, while still holding on to the principles that made Billy Graham one of the stongest “brands” in the world.

  • wanghongxing

    Quite agree.New ideas can not grow in OLD mind.When we start something new,first we should remove old tradition.I think China need to do a lot for its further developement.The government should change their old styles.

  • It’s one of those tough and lonely decisions a leader must make and implement.

    Pulling in opposite directions is too frustrating and non-productive for everyone and can usually only be resolved with decisive action by a strong leader. A leader who understands that part of the price for progress is to be misunderstood and even vilified.

  • Ty

    Some people are pliable and willing to change and grow, you just have to interview them and really listen.

    as I heard one minister say ” Never try to cram a 16’x 8′ idea in a 4′ x 2′ mind” it just does not work.

  • So true Phil–my 70 yr old Mom, the company BEGGED her to go FT, but Dad–he can’t even find a job other after he sold his insurance agency because he can’t force himself to wrap his mind around computer stuff. Mom–she said the younger people go on Netflix, they screw around on work time, but she works HARD and it keeps her young. Dad, stuck in his dreams that never came to pass…he called the other day, I spoke with him for like 20 minutes, “Dad, you don’t need to take a class to learn how to make your own CD (he’s a singer), people will make it harder than it has to be, talk to Kev before you buy anything,” but he just doesn’t GET that in this sinking economy he may have to do certain things a 70 yr old never thought he’d have to do. But Mom, a trooper, stayed fresh, stayed on top of computer stuff. Dad, wallowing in his never came true dream, allowed himself to fade, so since he won’t focus on stuff that WILL make $$ (“Singers are a dime a dozen, Dad, it doesn’t matter if you’re good–MANY are good.”), he still talks about working on his guitar or learning to make his own CD, rather than on focusing on what the MARKET will support. Much like “Giants In The Earth,” where the mom survived at the end, but the husband froze.

  • “When it comes to method, flow like a river. When it comes to message, stand like a rock.” – Benjamin Franklin