What is the climate of your church toward change? Is it open or closed? Does it view change as a friend or an enemy? As leaders, we must be able to read the climate conditions to know when to implement changes. We must know if the wind is in our favor or if the tide is rising against us.
Is the fight over?
Adversarial environments create an atmosphere that makes it almost impossible to produce positive change. Because of the negative atmosphere, people are suspicious of any changes. It’s wise for the leader to focus on healing the conflict before implementing change. When change is attempted without resolving the conflict, little is accomplished. The usual outcome is a compromise between the warring parties which ignores the primary purpose of change. Leaders of warring congregations should first heal the wounded.
Has the wind stopped blowing?
Some churches are too dead for adversarial relationships. They’ve simply stopped caring what happens. They are too dead to fight! Apathy defeats change because it makes it impossible for the leader to arouse the necessary support to accomplish the change. Leaders of dead churches are in need of a resurrection.
Are your people asleep?
One of the most dangerous environments for a church is to become comfortable with the current conditions. These people have been blessed beyond their expectations. Their attitude is: if it ain’t broke; don’t fix it! Most comfortable churches aren’t dead, but they’re not growing either. Their comfortable environment makes them content to live on yesterday’s blessings.
Here’s a good question:
What do you do when people begin leaving the church or your tithes and offerings are down?
The correct answer is to look for things you can change which will help you to reach new people. But that isn’t what usually happens. The usual response to this problem is that our survivor instincts take over, and we begin trying to relive yesterday. When we’re frightened, we tend to revert back to things that are familiar.
Many leaders are defeated before they begin because they haven’t counted the cost of change. If leadership were easy, more would be doing it. There’s a high price to be paid by those who want to make a positive influence on the future.
Good leaders have made the commitment for the long haul. They intend to come back tomorrow. Because of their long-term commitment, they accomplish much more than anyone else thinks possible.
Develop a strategy to lead your church to a better tomorrow. Anyone can sit and watch things happen, but good leadership creates an atmosphere where positive things will naturally take place.
The people following us must know we are committed to them and are watching for their interests. Proverbs 27:23
This takes time, but effective change isn’t possible if you avoid this step. Good leaders take the time to answer the questions of those who follow them. People want to know why is this change so important.
New people will look at the change from a different viewpoint and reach different conclusions.
Identify the respected influencers who can help legitimize the new ideas.
Everyone in the organization may have a vote, but some votes will have more influence than others.
If the change you’re attempting is good, it should begin to produce positive results. People will talk anyway; give them good things to talk about!
It’s almost impossible to over-communicate. Repetition is the mother of all learning and one of the most important keys in communication.
A crisis changes the rules. Everyone knows something must be done.