We are starting off the year strong with everyone’s favorite subject, Change!
Miller Mangaement has had the pleasure of walking through change with a number of churches through consulting or course trainings. The overall sentiment is “why can’t things just stay the same for a little while?” Shouldn’t church be a sanctuary of safety, not an unpredictable house of change?
Change in the Church
Webster’s dictionary defines change as making a shift from one to another.
There are different types of changes, the ones we will focus on today are minor, major, and transformational. Minor change in incremental, a change within a process. Major change is introducing a new pattern or system. Transformational change is a paradigm shift – moving away from what used to be done to something completely different.
Examples: a color change of a parking lot stripe is a minor change. Adding or taking away a ministry could be either a major change or a transformational change, depending on the complexity.
Mistakes of church leaders
One mistake leaders make is failure upfront. Sometimes for the size and scape of the change necessary, there will look like resistance or failure at the beginning; but it’s important to get a big picture view instead.
Another mistake is not taking into consideration how their constituents will respond. A large percentage of the population is just adverse to change, whether that is personality or trauma from the past.
Fear of the unknown is another reason people are adverse to change. Lack of trust or bad past experience is another big one. Lastly, they can’t see what the benefit for themselves or the church will be. They have a “What’s in it for me?” attitude. Or they just don’t see the value, or can’t see the big picture, for the organization as a whole.
While people are usually adverse to change, organizations can also function adversly as w whole. Organzations get comfortable where they are. Sometimes people see change as they have done something wrong in the past, and that has necessitated a change for the whole company.
In his book, Kicking Habits, Thomas Bandy makes several points about change in churches. One being accountability through too much management, where we set up systems that make it too challenging to get small things done that don’t make it worth it to keep going. This may be a great example of when change is necessary, but may still be hard to accomplish because of the reasons above.
Whatever our feelings are regarding change, we still have to deal with it in leading churches. Even if a change in needed, people might still be resistant. And that is okay and to be expected.
Join us next week as we continue our series on Change Management with Dr. Glenn Miller.
Special thanks to our guest, Dr. Glenn Miller, and our masters of all things Podcasting, Chris and Lauren Miller, for this first episode in our Change Management series.