Home Pastors Articles for Pastors 5 Change Killers in Your Church

5 Change Killers in Your Church

The very fact that we’re leaders means we have to chart the course and make bold steps toward the destiny God has designed for us.

The problem is … it doesn’t always work. Change is a scary proposition for most people, and so it’s not always received with the enthusiasm we envision.

Today I’m going to clarify why change is so hard for churches, and a few things we can do to make it easier:

1. Unbridled Tradition

Tradition is great—it’s one of the things all of us look forward to in our lives. Vacation traditions, family traditions, holiday traditions. No matter what your personality, you find comfort and meaning in the few things that don’t change in your life. Everybody does.

The problem with tradition in churches is when programs and practices become an end in themselves rather than a means to an end.

If the Great Commission and the Great Commandment are our marching orders, and our goal is to reach and grow people, then our focus has to be on the mission, not on the means.

Question: Are there traditions, programs, silos or sacred cows holding your church back from impact?  

If so, are you willing to shift the emphasis to the mission and off of the means?

2. Dysfunctional Structure

Just like our physical bodies need a structure (skeleton), so our churches need structure. Structures are the people and processes you use and the way you organize them.

The best structures for creating positive change are the ones where decisions can be made quickly, trust is built through flowing communication and authority comes with responsibility.

Whenever there’s frustration on your team, it’s wise to ask whether the structure is creating problems. Fixing structural problems is one of the quickest ways to gain momentum and raise morale.

How’s your structure?

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Gabe is the Lead Pastor at Westside Community Church in the Portland, Oregon area where he serves with his best friends. He has had the privilege of leading Westside through a number of exciting changes, from turnaround to relocation to multi-site. Gabe has a dream for seeing new churches planted, and a passion for connecting with leaders to make a difference in Portland and the Northwest. He is a trainer, a coach to pastors. Gabe is married to his Jr. High sweetheart, Melissa, and they have 3 children: Dawson, Caitlin, and Caleb. They love great food, traveling and finding new adventures together.