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10 Things Pastors and Church Leaders Should Know About Handling Change

Regardless of what anyone says, no one likes change but a baby. But successful leaders know change is not only a constant reality, it is necessary for continued success.

Change is a true constant to be leveraged. Not a temporary burden to avoid.

I love the Bible. It is simply the greatest leadership book ever written. In Genesis 32:22-32, we read the story of Jacob wrestling with God. During this struggle, God changed Jacob and an entire nation for the rest of human history. And God wants to change us as well.

As I read the text, I gleaned the following 10 Things Pastors and Church Leaders Should Know About Handling Change:

1. Change Affects Those You Love – v. 22 – “And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok.” Leading change is not popular. People do not want to change, especially their music or worship service. Therefore, the effects of change on a leader’s life are often experienced by their family as well.

2. Change Costs You Some Change – v. 23 – “He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had.” Leading change comes with a high price tag. It costs pastors and church leaders something emotionally, physically, financially and often positionally.

3. Change Can Be Lonely – v. 24 – “Then Jacob was left alone.” During times of change, you need time to think, to strategize, to plan, to gain perspective and to pray. But leading change is often a lonely process. It sometimes feels like we have no friends.

4. Change Takes Time – v. 24 – “a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day.” Change is often a process, not an event.

5. Change Requires Struggle – v. 25 – “He did not prevail against him.” Change is not easy. But be encouraged, struggle is necessary for strength and sustainability.

6. Change Does Not Leave You the Same – v. 25 – “He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint.” Pastors and church leaders will learn more, suffer more, experience more, grow more and make you more like Jesus during times of change than anything except evaluated failure.

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Brian Dodd is a church stewardship & leadership consultant. See www.briandoddonleadership.com for additional insights.