A pastor wanted to move a table to the other side of a room in order to better facilitate fellowship gatherings. He later confided, “It took 1 ½ years before I could move that table due to resistance from certain members.”
If moving a table across the room creates that much of a challenge, what happens if a pastor wants to lead real change in the church?
Pastors report frustration and disillusionment when people resist change. I understand. When people resist your ideas, they dump a bucket of ice-cold water on your vision and passion for ministry.
After too many buckets, one could think, “No one wants progress. They want everything to stay the same. Nothing will ever change.”
Should a pastor reach that point, I could imagine motivation to lead and passion for pastoring plummeting!
Yet, is it true that resistance to change cannot be overcome? People would rather die than budge an inch? Nothing the pastor does can overcome the inertia?
Some may feel that way, but may I offer hope and direction? Solutions exist to vastly increase a pastor’s likelihood of successfully leading change.
We will need a couple more articles to fully explore this topic. However, for now, let me provide a starting place for mastering the skills of leading change.
Managing the emotions of change: understand and sensitize yourself to common emotions people (including you and me) experience when presented with a suggested change.
Developing the mindset of change: learn how to develop in yourself the proper mindset for leading change so that you can communicate with people persuasively about the change.
Getting the buy-in for change: use standard procedures of emotionally intelligent change leadership to successfully implement and follow through on change initiatives.
There comes a time when things need to change.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven... (Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV)
Savvy pastors neither push nor pull people through those times of change. They skillfully lead them, managing emotions, developing new ways of thinking and getting the buy-in that makes the whole process a period of positive growth for everyone.
Read on over the next few weeks and I will share how to do that!