For most of us, change is hard; for others, it’s downright excruciating!
As people who are constantly being changed into the image of Christ, change should be something Christians embrace and even pursue when we understand that it’s for good cause.
Yet, when we’re honest, we know that even good change is difficult. We often bristle at accepting the need to change and, too commonly, fail to do it gracefully. It’s true personally and corporately.
Personally, our failure to change is evident in our character. Study after study in recent years has shown that the behavior of professing believers is hardly distinguishable from non-believers. Ghandi’s criticism that we Christians aren’t much like our leader certainly stings, but it also rings true.
Our ineffectiveness in bringing salvation to individuals and transformation to our neighborhoods testifies to our lack of commitment to corporate change.
Why is this – our resistance or failure to change – the case?
On one level, I think way too many of us resonate with Jay, who told Pastor and Author Pete Scazzero, “I was a Christian for 22 years. But instead of being a 22-year-old Christian, I was a one-year-old Christian 22 times! I just kept doing the same things over and over again.“
We all know the popular definition for insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result.
Was Jay insane? Doubtful. But, for whatever reason, he didn’t make the little changes necessary for growth throughout those twenty years. Little changes could have made a huge difference! Could’ve prevented him from being a baby Christian for twenty years.
Of course, what is true for the individual is often true for the group. We’ve all heard the famous phrase “This is how we’ve always done it.” In other words, “We’re committed to doing the same thing over and over again.”
I think one way those of us in leadership can help people be better at change is by leading with a clear vision and being committed to constantly tweaking the way things are done in order to achieve the best outcome for the people we’re trying to minister to.
Foundational changes regarding mission or values should only rarely be made. However, the way we accomplish our mission and live out our values should constantly be under consideration.
I want to suggest consistent, intentional tweaking for leaders working with ministry teams.
5 Reasons Why Leaders Should Embrace Consistent Change
1. Takes the fear out of change.
When people on a ministry team come together in a routine process of tweaking, it helps everyone see that change is difficult but absolutely expected. This is true in both life and ministry. It doesn’t have to be feared.
2. Puts the focus on mission instead of method.
When tweaking for mission-effectiveness is constant, it helps the whole church family stay more concerned about the mission of Gospel ministry and making disciples rather than a particular method of ministry.
3. Develops an appreciation for constructive criticism.
When we consistently evaluate and tweak our ministry together, it helps to develop a thicker skin to constructive thinking. People begin to recognize that the desire to improve the work doesn’t communicate personal failure, nor does it communicate disapproval of the person. It simply communicates a commitment to improve and grow.
4. Leads to better leaders.
When the leader exposes him or herself to their teammates and share the changes they intend to make to their ministry, it allows others to take part in helping the leader get better. Even more so, when the leader confesses a desire to do better, it’s a model and inspiration to the team. When team members see their leaders giving their all to the mission they are much more willing to follow.
5. Empowers the next generation.
When tweaking is constant, we are more likely to be able to pass a thriving ministry on to the next generation and less likely to say, “This is how we’ve always done it.”
For the glory of God, let’s commit to be people who make the many and regular little changes necessary for growth.
As a final piece of advice, if you haven’t done this with your church family or ministry team leaders, a great place to start is by talking about your own leadership practices. Share some little ways you plan to change in hopes of God-glorifying growth. Then follow through and show them how it’s working.
Once some progress is evident, start to lead your leaders toward a culture of change and growth one prayerful step at a time. Lead wisely. Change just enough to make steady progress to God’s desired end of making your church a city on a hill. That’s His desire!
For His Glory!