How I Learned to Ride the Waves of Change
I started Christian Care Connection – my counseling practice – almost 20 years ago. Not much to it back then – just me, a rented room and a small sign on the building.
Over the years, Christian Care Connection slowly grew. In the last several years, though, expansion exploded: four locations, a dozen associate counselors, taking in more new clients each month than I used to see in a year.
I’d like to share two things with you about this whole experience and here’s why I think you may find it helpful to hear.
I suspect that whatever size church you lead, at whatever stage you may be in your ministry, no matter where you may be located, that the one unchanging constant is constant change!
The dizzying pace of change in our world affects everything we do in the church world. So, with the goal of helping you sort through your own reactions to constant change, my two observations.
The first is that change makes me anxious but there’s no growth without change.
Now you may experience life differently and think that I’m timid. You may thrive on the thrill of the roller-coaster ride. Fair enough. However, for those of you more like me, here’s what I’ve learned.
God worked with me a long time to help me loosen my grip and let go of control. Thing is, I now realize my death grip on control blocked growth.
For example, I’ve had to learn to trust other people to do it their way.
Just recently, an associate stopped me in the hallway and suggested an initiative that, well, I would have done differently than the way they proposed to do it. However, I just smiled, gave my ok, turned around and went in my office. I’ve come to realize that it is more important that they’re taking initiative and driving things forward than it is for me to keep things in my comfort zone!
I’m learning that it’s exciting riding the wave of change even when I feel anxious holding onto my little surfboard. My ministry cannot grow if I micro-manage all the things that are going on in the organization.
So I wonder if you may have areas of anxiety that you may have to conquer if you want to see all that God can accomplish through you. What do you think?
A second thing I’ve observed: the skills and mindset that I needed when I started now have to be updated with different ones. In fact, I believe one reason that it took 20 years to get to this stage of growth in my organization is that it took 20 years for God to get me to this stage of growth in my skillset.
Back in 1988, Gareth Morgan, a Canadian-American professor, published a little book, Riding the Waves of Change. It proved so prescient that it has since been republished and continues to prove relevant. In short, he stated that today’s organizational leaders need nine new sets of skills. Here’s a sampling:
Sharing the Vision
Harnessing the Creative Power of Information Technologies
So, all I’m saying is this: in order to lead my ministry successfully forward, I’ve had to take on new skills and new ways of thinking. I’m continuing to do that now.
Professor Morgan’s research from 30 years ago predicted and has since proven true that business executives face a demanding environment and cannot succeed using only old ways of thinking.
What I am wondering: as you face the constancy of change in our world, do you believe that church leaders and pastors must learn specific new skills? Must they adopt new mindsets? What do you think those are?
And where are you in the process of developing them?
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