Change: slowly, quickly, or wait awhile?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by BroChris, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. BroChris

    BroChris
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    I was taught throughout college and seminary not to change things too quickly, especially in my first few years as their pastor. I came into the church with this mentality, not wanting to change a thing until I truly became their pastor, not just in title, but by gaining their trust. Now that I've been here for a couple months, though, I'm finding this to be more difficult than I thought it would be. I'm serving a truly willing, loving, eager group of people. It seems like they would be willing to follow wherever and do whatever I feel the Lord leading us to go and do. They're doing so much right in terms of not just doing church, but being a church. But there are a few things which could be tweaked, added, or taken away.

    Assuming for a moment that I'm reading this people right (which I may not be), and assuming that I actually know which areas of church life really need to be changed (which I don't completely yet), how would you proceed? Would you take the opportunity to change things quickly? Or would you still move slowly, knowing that it takes time for people to come on board, get used to change, and learn new behaviors? Or would you still wait awhile, until you've been there for a few years?
     
  2. Johnv

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    It depends on the type of change, but I would agree that changing things should be done slowly. Making changes too quickly will usually give the perception that the presbytery is not being considered.
     
  3. Salty

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    One possible way is to get them to be part of the decision.

    For example, you want to split the 5&6 grade boys and girls SS class into two separate classes. First you don't insist, but make a light reference to how the class is growing and that there is a member who would like to start teaching.

    So you ask how can we accomplish this. Some might say, split by gender, others would say by school grade. Normally always give affirmative response to both ideals, then you could say, "I think in this case I lean toward splitting by gender as the current teacher is Mr. Jones and Miss Smith would like to teaching a class.

    Salty
     
  4. exscentric

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    "whatever I feel the Lord leading us to go and do"

    Are they not also believer priests in touch with the Spirit within? Be very sure to allow them input to where you think the Lord is leading them. They are the church and might well know what they want to do as a church with you leading them :thumbs:

    I did research years ago on change and things have changed since then, but communication is the key in my mind - be sure they know where you want to take them, be sure they know why you want to do so, then tell them how you are going to do it.

    Change is not pleasant but can be made less problematic if they know what is going on - change hitting them over the head seldom works well.
     
  5. Tom Bryant

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    There is a great book entitled "Transitioning: Leading Your Church Through Change" by Dan Southerland. He bases it on Nehemiah's leadership in Jerusalem.

    He deals with these issues from the perspective of transitioning the church from a program driven church to a purpose driven church. But I have used his principles for many areas of change.

    Whether you change something fast or slow depends on how dear it is to the people whom you are asking to change. Some changes you can do quickly and others take long periods of time. So it depends on what changes you are seeking.
     
  6. Gib

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    Our Wednesday night adult Bible study and prayer service has dwindled over the past 9 years. At times there are only 4 or 5 people there and 3 are staff members. With our current pastor we have been praying for God's leadership for over 2 years. C'mon, how long will this go on??

    Meanwhile, the youth, children's ministry & WMU are growing on the same night. We talked about this in our church council meeting. The same response...let's pray about this until we meet again. I've lost count how many times we've done this.
     
  7. gb93433

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    Ask some of the people you can confide in. Start with the leaders who can hold confidences.
     
  8. mike

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    I've been at my church for going on an year and a half. Our folks sound a lot like yours in that they were eager and were doing a lot right. What I did, was do a lot of preparation as to where we needed to go as a church family. Once the folks knew what we were going to do in the area of change, I changed nothing until folks started to ask "When are we going to begin?"

    When the anticipation is there, and the people are ready, God will get it going. At least that is what has happened here so far. It's hard to wait, but God will give the vision and it must be communicated first and allowed to set in before it will be accepted; even by an eager congregation.

    No situation is exactly the same, but maybe this will help a little.
     
  9. BroChris

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    Thanks for the input, ya'll. :thumbs:
     
  10. SaggyWoman

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    This was an interesting read. He is now pastoring in the Lenexa (Kansas City Kansas) area at a church that maneuvered the change prior to his arrival.

    Some change can happen quickly---if people are on the verge--wham. There you go. Others you have to integrate slowly.

    Plus, people who are new and "dumb" can get away with more change (usually) than the more tenured.
     

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