I had an interesting conversation this week with a Pastor and I was reminded of the importance of how to implement change. I shared some things with him and when I was talking, I was remembering all the dumb mistakes we’ve made over the years in regards to changing things. So before you turn your church upside down because you just got back from the coolest church ever or the best conference in the universe, consider this:
#1 – Get your staff on board – I know you’ve heard from God, but your staff needs to hear from you. Give them time to process it. Let them ask questions. This isn’t them challenging your leadership, they’re just trying to get their minds around what you’re asking.
#2 – Get your core leaders on board – I’m referring to big stuff here (Philosophy, values, theology). If you need this kind of consensus to change your bulletins, you’ve got bigger problems than lame bulletins.
#3 – The degree of change is directly related to how open people are to change – We’re trying something right now, and it’s just an experiment. Then again, we tell our people from the get-go that we aren’t a seeker church, a traditional church, an Emerging church, or a contemporary church. We’re an experimental church. So that means we try stuff, all the time. Sometimes it’s gold, other times it’s Hiroshima.
#4 – Understand where people are coming from – Here’s the deal, when a person decides to call your church home, they are deciding based on what they experienced, not what you’re going to change the church into. So for some people, change isn’t welcomed because you’re messing with something very special to them. I’m not saying don’t change. I’m simply saying, take that into consideration. The longer things have been the same, the harder it is to change stuff. (That’s why it’s good to be constantly innovating and improving what you do, so change becomes part of your culture)
#5 – Sometimes you’ve got to take the hit – If you feel called by God to make a drastic change and there are those who decide to not stay, understand that the church they first attended doesn’t exist anymore. It’s changed into something they don’t feel comfortable with. That’s OK. Wish them well and do what God has called you to do. But understand, there may be a backlash. But if you have a strong leading and are willing to pay the price, go for it.