Many people in our churches and probably on our teams don’t like change. Some people really struggle with change, it stresses them. They like what they are used to. The older I get the more I understand why the Senior Saints ministry theme song is “I shall not be moved.” Literally, they won’t even change Sunday School classrooms even if the new room would be an upgrade.
Recently I heard this from a pastor who introduced some change during his first year of ministry in a church, “It’s hard to change the culture of a church.” As a result his team is experiencing some poor health as a team, they are grumbling, complaining and being critical behind his back. My knee jerk reaction would be to say hit the road to the complainers, but then we would just be sending them to the next church with the same problem.
His comment sparked a few thoughts:
Most people don’t like change. I read a stat that 80 percent of people won’t change, they oppose change. Now I don’t know how accurate that stat is but I found it on the Internet so it has to be true. I do know that most people I have encountered in life are not huge fans of change. It is like getting that lazy boy recliner broke in just right, worn out, tattered, but it is so comfortable you don’t want a new one. Change moves us out of our comfort zone.
Explain the “why.” Most don’t understand the “why” behind the change so they fight the change. This falls on us as leaders. Did we communicate the “why” behind the change? Did we communicate it clearly? Most reasonable people, once the “why” is explained, can understand the reason for the change. If we don’t clearly communicate the “why” then false perception becomes our enemy. People will resist change if they are going by a false perception.
The meeting before the change. Getting the team on board for change requires meeting with them or meetings with them to help them see the why and need for the change. To change the culture of what the team is used to doing in their ministry role without meeting with them first and thoroughly explaining the “why” and hearing their input sends a message, true or not, that their input as team members is not valued. When a team’s goal is to move the ball down the field everyone needs to know how and why they are moving the ball. They need a picture painted of the end goal.
If I walk into an old house that’s in need of great repair I can see in my mind what the house could be. I can look past the peeling wall paper, chipped paint, dirty floors, nasty carpet and design flaws to see what the house could be. Some people don’t have that ability so you must help them see it, and it takes extra effort to make that happen.
In what ways have you successfully implemented change in your ministry setting?
What made those changes successful?
How well received were those changes?
In part two of this post I’ll share five more thoughts about change.
This article originally appeared here.