I love to tell the story of the 100-year-old man who was celebrating his centennial birthday. Someone stated, “Over 100 years, I am sure you have seen a lot of changes.” He responded, “Yes and I have been against every one of them!” When you are through changing, you are through. Just ask companies like Polaroid, Blockbuster Video and Borders Books.
When the speed of change around an organization is faster than the change inside the organization, the organization becomes irrelevant—and this includes the church. Methods are always changing, but principles never do! God gave us the Great Commission. He instructed what, when, and where but not how because the how is always changing.
In his book Leadership Pain, Dr. Sam Chand explains something that has helped understand change in a whole new way:
Leading through change is one of the most difficult seasons of a leader’s life. First, hear from God and seek wise counsel before making a major change. Don’t make too many changes at once. An organization can only handle so much change over a short period of time. Your church is a cruise ship not a speed boat.
Be willing to let people leave. God sends people to you for a season, for a reason and just a few for a lifetime! Not many will go all the way with you. When you make a change, remember, your results will likely be in the future, but your critics will appear immediately. Don’t take credit when people come and don’t take blame when they leave. Trust God to lead them in each direction.
Remind and affirm often. Always lead with why you made the change. If people don’t know the why, the what will become meaningless. People will work for a what, but they give their lives for a why. Throughout change, simply remind people of the why and encourage them.
Leading involves constant changing. Consider the following three questions:
Winston Churchill said it best, “To improve is to change and to be perfect is to change often.” Great leaders learn to embrace change.
This article was extracted from Issue 2 (Summer 2020) of the AVAIL Journal. Claim your free annual subscription here.
Benny Tate is the senior pastor of Rock Springs Church in Milner, Georgia. A highly-sought-after evangelist and gifted motivational speaker, Dr. Tate has spoken to many major corporations and has been a guest speaker at universities across the country. He also hosts the Apples of Gold radio program and has authored many books. Pastor Tate and his wife, Barbara, have one daughter, Savannah Abigail. They currently reside in Griffin, Georgia.
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