Change happens. Whether we want it to or not, it happens in our ministries. Leading and managing change can be one of the most challenging aspects of our roles. But doing it well can be the difference between thriving and dying on the vine.
Some of the benefits of positive change include:
- Reframing the vision and mission of your ministry.
- Increasing effectiveness in pursuit of that vision.
- Engaging new team members.
- Improving the culture of the organization.
- Instigating growth.
Of course, not leading or managing change well can lead to the opposite of the above.
Ultimately, I think the last one listed above—instigating growth—is ultimately what all intentional change should be about. In some form or another we want to grow. We want to grow our ministry. We want to grow our leaders. We want to grow ourselves. We want to see growth resulting in greater impact. But, as John Maxwell says:
Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.
Change is always right around the corner. But it doesn’t always produce positive growth. This is usually because of resistance we face in the change process—“change challenges.” Change challenges might include:
- Fear – People are naturally afraid of change. Change is unknown, and we’re usually afraid of the unknown.
- Tradition – Also known as “sacred cows.” These can be very difficult to overcome.
- Unclear vision – If people don’t understand why they are being asked to change, why would they put in the effort?
- Loss of control – The change process is rarely certain. Again, we like stability and dislike the unknown. When we feel out of control, we resist.
- Past failures – If we’ve tried something before and failed, people are a little slower to trust we can pull it off this time.
- Lack of confidence – Closely aligned with past failures. If people don’t have confidence in leadership, it’s hard to get them on board.
- Comfort – Sometimes people just can’t be bothered. Things aren’t bad the way they are—why change?
- Organizational dysfunction – If leadership is not aligned, communication is bad or any number of other leadership issues, change is going to be challenging, at best.