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Climate Changers: Lesson 4 – How To Test The Wind



Good leaders learn to read the changing barometer.

  1. Are we moving too quickly?
  2. Is the team well-informed?
  3. Are the doers the deciders?


  1. Take the time to carefully prepare your people for a big change.  It’s better to make large changes in several smaller steps which gives them more time to adjust.
  2. Sell the change to your leadership first.  Don’t move forward with change until your leadership agrees that you’re moving in the right direction.  After your leadership is in unity on change, it’s their responsibility to help sell the change to membership.

Planned change won’t take place until there’s a large degree of discontent with the way things are now.  Whenever possible, it’s better to make changes by addition instead of subtraction.


  1. A highly-respected and deeply-loved leader.  Because the leader is greatly respected, he has more authority to produce radical change.
  2. The arrival of a charismatic and benevolent dictator.  Because of their great gifts and strong personalities people naturally follow them.
  3. A patient and persistent plodder.  Because of their determination and clear vision, they’re able to make large changes.  If necessary, they outlive the resistance and move new people into leadership positions.

This type of climate changer works more slowly than others, but usually, slow change is best because it gives people time to adapt.  The more quickly you move into change, the higher the risk you take of it being rejected.


  1. People tend to be more receptive to new ideas when they’re no longer new.
  2. People need time to talk themselves into accepting new changes.
  3. The membership vote should not be sought until every leader is reasonably sure what the outcome will be.


Just as the seasons of life are continually changing, there are signals that leaders can read informing them of where they are in the cycles of change.  Springtime is a time of new growth followed by Summer which matures and ripens what springtime produced.  Autumn is a time of harvest followed by Winter which is the season to deepen your roots and prepare for the coming spring.  The secret is being wise enough to know what season it is.

This is the principle of the Sigmoid Curve.  Growth always climaxes, and unless leaders find new opportunities, the church will plateau and then decline.  Good leadership is always looking for new opportunities.


  1. You must first identify those who desire change.  Determine the size of this circle and how much influence they hold.
  2. Draw a timeline on how much time is needed for people to accept the needed change.  Be careful not to rush unprepared for radical change.
  3. Identify the influencers that will implement the change.  Don’t try to accomplish big changes alone.  Make sure that the circles of influence are larger than the attempted change, or the change will fail.  


  1. “YES”   These are innovators and inventors who are constantly looking for creative ideas.
  2. “I’m willing to be convinced.”   These are the early adopters who are quick to buy into new ideas.
  3. “I’ll do a gradual buy-in.”   These are the early majority who are slower to accept change than the early adopters but gradually follow.
  4. “I’m somewhat reluctant.” These are the late bloomers.  They resist most new ideas but will come around if we wait for them.
  5. “Over my dead body.”   These are the hold-outs who reject change.  You don’t have to worry about the hold-outs if you’ve taken the time to patiently walk the early majority and the late bloomers through the steps of change.

Take the time necessary to identify each group and work with them accordingly.  Don’t allow a few hold-outs to paralyze your church.  Remember, people can change, and systems can be improved.  A committed minority will overcome a passive majority.  It might be necessary for you to recruit some new players if you are serious about playing a new game.

The Stronger Motivating Force Usually Determines the Outcome!

Lessons in the series How To Grow A Church

Climate Changers lesson 1

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