One of the biggest—yet seemingly smallest—changes we have made in church revitalization was switching our service times. It seemed so simple, yet I was pulled aside and told several times it would be the last change I made in the church. The word was the seniors—who primarily attended the later service—had made so many changes they weren’t doing this one. And they were extremely serious about it.
(Let me give a side note here to my pastor friends. Your seniors who don’t like change are usually more supportive than you think they are or will be. Granted, there are those few who are difficult, but those people come with all age groups. Good leadership can bring your seniors along—which is the point of this post.)
But, foolish as I can be, we changed the service times.
(Another side note. To all leaders. If you aren’t occasionally doing some things others call foolish—at least initially—you may not be leading.)
Frankly, I don’t believe we would be on any “fast-growing church” list had we not made the change in our service times.
But it wasn’t easy. There was plenty of resistance. We even lost a few families. Not many, but a few.
For the most part, however, it was an enormously successful change.
Part of the reason is we were methodical about addressing objections.
I’ve learned in leading change there are a few common objections to change. If you know a change is necessary, understanding why someone is objecting may help you respond accordingly.
Here are five common objections to change—each followed by suggestions for addressing them:
Confused—These people just don’t understand the change. They can’t get their minds around it yet. It doesn’t make sense to them. They may lack information. Often they have heard misinformation. Or they heard one point about the change and came to their own conclusion about the everything else.
Suggestion: Over-communicate. When you think you’ve shared too much—share it again. And again. And in different formats. We created a brochure for a change that seemed to many to be so simple to understand. We held meetings. We placed it in the Sunday bulletin. I talked about it from stage. Many times, in my experience, once the change is explained, they become supportive or less opposed.