Whether we want it to or not, it happens in our lives, ministries & organizations. Leading & managing change can be one of the most challenging aspects of our roles. But doing it well can be the difference between thriving and dying on the vine.
Some of the benefits of positive change include:
- Reframing the vision & mission of your ministry or organization.
- Increasing effectiveness in pursuit of that vision.
- Engaging new team members.
- Improving the culture of the organization.
- Instigating growth.
Of course, NOT leading or managing change well can lead to the opposite of the above.
Ultimately, I think the last one listed above – instigating growth – is ultimately what all intentional change should be about. In some form or another we want to grow. We want to grow our ministry. We want to grow our organizations or businesses. We want to grow our leaders. We want to grow ourselves. We want to see growth resulting in greater impact. But…
Change is always right around the corner. But it doesn’t always produce positive growth. This is usually because of resistance we face in the change process – “change challenges”. Change challenges might include:
- Fear – people are naturally afraid of change. Change is unknown, and we’re usually afraid of the unknown.
- Tradition – also known as “sacred cows”. These can be very difficult to overcome.
- Unclear vision – if people don’t understand why they are being asked to change, why would they put in the effort?
- Loss of control – the change process is rarely certain. Again, we like stability and dislike the unknown. When we feel out of control, we resist.
- Past failures – if we’ve tried something before and failed, people are a little slower to trust that we can pull it off this time.
- Lack of confidence – closely aligned with past failures, if people don’t have confidence in leadership, it’s hard to get them on board.
- Comfort – sometimes people just can’t be bothered. Things aren’t bad the way they are – why change?
- Organizational dysfunction – if leadership is not aligned, communication is bad or any number of other leadership issues, change is going to be challenging, at best.
Understanding both the benefits & the challenges can provide motivation for change. But we also need to understand why we should initiate change.
I believe there are four reasons change should be initiated.
4 Significant Reasons To Bring Lasting Change To Your Organization
This might seem obvious, but sometimes we’re slow to change even with danger lurking. Of course, physical danger is real and easy to spot, and we are usually quick to address possible dangers to children (or anyone) that might cause physical harm.
But there are other dangers we need to address, too. For example, we often don’t think about poor teaching, lack of vision, uninviting environments, etc., as “dangers”. However, these are very real dangers to effectively engaging children in a spiritual conversation. Spiritual dangers are all around us, and the enemy would love nothing more for us to ignore spiritual dangers and just keep things the way they are.
Have you looked at your ministry through the eyes of a young person lately? Things get dated quickly. It might be the environment they are walking into. It might be teaching tools or techniques. It might be the program model. It could be any number of other things.
When things become dated they become unattractive. Does that mean we always have to have the “latest and greatest”? No, because ministry is primarily about relationships. But being aware of the relevancy of our ministry is important.
Sometimes our ministry simply needs a change in direction. It could be that we tried something new and it didn’t work, so we need to altar the course and change again. It could be that we need to remove a “sacred cow” that we’ve allowed to remain for too long. It could be that we need to move our ministry past a seriously negative situation. It could be that there’s been significant leadership turnover in the church or in our ministry that has brought about new and fresh vision or an overall change in direction in the church.
Sometimes a change in direction should take place simply to shake things up, create enthusiasm or generate interest in what’s going on.
Rarely do our ministries maintain the same size and scope for extensive periods of time. As our ministry grows – or diminishes – we need to instigate change to manage it appropriately. All change should be scalable from the outset, but often times significant change in dimension requires significant change in our ministry.
What other reasons would you identify that signify a need for change?
(please share in comments below)
In our next post we look at 6 ways of managing change in your ministry or organization.