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Mike Bonem Shares Wisdom & Experience


Nationally recognized consultant, author, speaker, church leader, and businessman, Mike Bonem, was the featured speaker for a presentation titled “Navigating Healthy Change.” 
Bonem admires some of the literature analyzing business leadership, but strives to meaningfully translate that to the church context.  As Bonem states matter-of-factly, “My personal mission is to help leaders pursue great AND godly leadership and help their organizations achieve their God-given potential.”  
“Mike has a truly extraordinary background and skill set” states Missouri United Methodist Foundation executive director, David Atkins, “and he couples that with a genuine understanding of and appreciation for the work-a-day world of pastoral ministry.”  The Foundation sponsored the event.
Bonem spent over 10 years on the staff of West University Baptist Church in Houston, most recently as Executive Pastor.  His business endeavors have included consulting as a senior manager with McKinsey & Company, one of the world’s leading management consulting firms, and senior leadership roles in two environmental service companies. Mike obtained his M.B.A. degree, with distinction, from Harvard Business School, after having obtained a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Rice University.

Bonem organized his comments around: 6 Central Convictions, 3 Confusing Mental Models, Practices for Navigating Healthy Change, and Practicing Great and Godly Leadership.  
A sampling of insights included:
  • There are three types of planning – tactical, visionary, and strategic.
  • Pastors need to develop a group that can help with the work of strategic discernment – a vision community.
  • Mental Models are the images, assumptions, and stories we use to interpret our world and guide our actions.  Pastors can carry some unhelpful mental models – such as the idea of a pastor as shepherd.
  • Spiritual and relational vitality are central to building a culture of change and a coalition of leaders.  
  • Developing real commitment to a shared vision is the challenging work of leadership.
  • Setting goals and measuring progress are important.  While measures can be difficult to discover, pick something and measure it consistently.  
  • Progress may be incremental, but we must always take time to celebrate “wins.”
He quoted author Robert Quinn, “The land of excellence is safely guarded from unworthy intruders.  At the gates stand two fearsome sentries – risk and learning. The keys to entrance are faith and courage.”
One of the highlights of the day was a live panel discussion with Pastor Allen Zugelter of Liberty UMC and Executive Director of Ministries, Sabra Englebrecht of The Gathering in St. Louis.  
Bonem led the discussion, and Zugelter and Englebrecht provided candid insights about how they encountered, encouraged or dealt with change in their ministry contexts.       
All attendees received copies of Bonem’s book Leading Congregational Change, along with other resource materials all provided by the Missouri United Methodist Foundation. For more information and resources, contact the Foundation office at 800-332-8238.