I recently read a tweet that said, “I’m looking forward to some precedented times.”
I couldn’t stop laughing!
The truth is, right now we’re all a bit tired and weary, and honestly sick of change.
If you’re reading this, you’re likely leading ministry, and that means you’ve pivoted so much in the last 7 months you feel like you’re spinning in circles.
I get it.
I’m there with you.
And, I want to take this blog post to provide some practical equipping for change management and some encouragement as you carry the mantle of leadership you’ve been entrusted with.
This isn’t a how-to guide, but rather some practical change management ingredients that will go well with whatever change management recipe book you’re working with.
CHANGE TIP 1 – START OUT ENCOURAGED
You can’t give what you haven’t got.
If you’re demotivated and uninspired, those around you will feel it, and it will cascade and multiply through your organization. You MUST bring energy and inspiration. So, I’m giving you permission to take care of you!
What does that mean? Well, it means when life is dragging you down, YOU need to decipher what’s causing it and why.
There’s good news here: You don’t have to decipher it all alone. Here are a few ways I get to the bottom of my low points:
- I have friends that understand me and my ministry and take time to listen
- My wife (Stacy) is WAAAY smarter than me, and she cares about my work enough to give me a few objective thoughts on me, my M.O., and what I’m too close to see accurately
- I have a counselor I make a point of communicating regularly with
- I make sure there’s at least one “truth-teller” on my team. You know who they are – the people that you can count on to tell you honestly what’s going on.
NOTE: What makes this work over and over again is that I’m personally committed to be accountable to their counsel.
Once you begin to understand the issue(s), give yourself permission to pause and reflect. Just naming the issue is often difficult. It can be so difficult, in fact, that many people inappropriately cope by avoidance and denial.
CHANGE TIP 2 – FOCUS ON THE BIG PICTURE
Tough times are the best times to grow. Often, in the most difficult seasons of life, we grit our teeth and tough through the situation without letting God do a transformative work in us.
What am I getting at here? It’s that we miss the point of blessing that tough times bring.
Here’s what I mean: You will never look back at times of comfort and ease and say you grew the most in those times. However, if you approach difficult and uncertain times with an attitude of God’s complete control, you can begin to grow – both despite the low times and because of them.
When we get myopic and only see our present circumstances, it’s easy to be discouraged.
CHANGE TIP 3 – SHARE THE WEIGHT
Invite your peers and supervisors/elders to offer perspective. When they share in the decision, they’ll share in the responsibility. Even better, they’ll advocate for the success of the changes you need to make.
CHANGE TIP 4 – EMBRACE THE "BOTH/AND"
Inexperienced leaders often remove the old too soon. Instead, consider the wisdom of offering the new while leaving the old intact (at least for a while).
Consider the metaphor of building a wooden boat dock. If an old dock is present, you can build the new dock on top of the old and might be able to do so without even getting your feet wet.
Over time, the old dock rots away, and the new dock is left.
It’s the removal of the old dock that often creates so much unrest and upheaval.
So, in your ministry, if it’s not toxic or dysfunctional, can it be left in place while the new dock is built and proven to be better? This “both/and” situation can save a lot of heartache in leadership.
In fact, as churches relaunch live services, it may be absolutely essential to keep offering the online streaming options, the house watch parties, the regional park gatherings, AND the live services back in your auditorium. Who knows? That sense of selection and the additional ways of connecting people might just prove to be the best practice.
Lean into the mess and uncertainty of it all.
I believe God has got us right where he wants us, and, while exhausting at times, I want to encourage you to lean into the mess and uncertainty of it all. God knew exactly what he was doing when he brought you there.
Until next week, Grace & Peace