The church where I serve, Grace Chapel, has experienced a lot of changes over the last few years. Whether by policy changes, process changes or pastoral changes, we have had many things adjust around us. When these changes happen, they can be unsettling, worrisome and emotionally draining.
There comes a point when we want change to stop, so we ask the question:
If I ignore it, will it just go away?
The answer is:
- Sometimes yes.
- Sometimes no.
There are times when the changes we push for will not actually take place because whatever the driving force is behind it, runs out of energy.
But sometimes, if necessary change does goes away out of exhaustion, we run the risk of not taking higher ground for the Gospel of Christ.
If the passion for change carries on and it comes from true and lasting conviction, it will not fade. Especially if the Lord is behind it, His energy is endless, and it will not be stopped. If we resist what God desires to change our resistance will wear out before His desire for it runs out.
So what does it take to survive change?
- A prayerful and humble attitude.
- A solid understanding of the change needed.
- A willingness to embrace your role within the change.
- A set of tools to help you measure where we are on reaching the desired outcome.
Here are some questions worth considering if you are facing change:
- How are you doing on the four things above? Personally and corporately as an organization or church?
- Where do you think you are still in need of change in your organization?
- What is the risk if we do not change?
If we do not change…
As a church, w have to be continually changing. Our core stays the same, but in order to reach more people with the message of Jesus Christ, we must be adapting our approach. If we ignoring the necessary change it will not just go away, especially if it is from God. Also, if we resist change and don’t press into, that could result in:
- Not reaching as many people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Losing or mis-stewarding church funds.
- Loss of paid staff roles.
- Loss of volunteer opportunities.
- Loss of influence for Christ.
So you may say… Okay fine, I won’t ignore change, but what is the rush?
Great question. Thanks for asking. The main “rush” is obviously not to have any of the losses listed above. But perhaps, more importantly, the key to ensure we are all on the same page for the need for change is (drum roll, please):
Often, a church’s pastor or the elders will see the need to change but they fail to communicate it well. The staff is in the dark. The congregation is left guessing. The leadership then gets frustrated due to the lack of support.
Good communication is the key to effective change. Forcing people to change without all getting on the same page about why, how and when will result in us all feeling like we are pushing on a large cube of JELL-O—we might make a dent, but there will not be any significant overall shift.
Ephesians 4:2-4, “…bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call.”
If we do not embrace change with unity, it will pull us apart. In most cases, even if there is resistance, change has to occur to accomplish the mission. Waiting or ignoring change will usually not end the process, it will just increase your frustration.
Here is something worth considering, or discussing with those who you are going through change with:
- Where in the Bible do we see instances of change for a group of people?
- How did the keep (or not keep) unity in the face of change and what was the result?
This article’s content was adapted from and helped by: Employee’s Survival Guide to Change: The complete guide to surviving and thriving during organizational change