This is an all too common phrase spoken by small town pastors. I hear it over and over again in the conversations I’m a part of. I’d love to change our worship music, but we could never do that. I’d like to add another service, but we could never do that. I’d like to replace this giant pulpit, but we could never do that.
Most of us have been in way too many meetings where our ideas were either shot down or out voted. You end up feeling helpless and hopeless, and you just decide that we could never do that. In a way, you give up.
But what if you didn’t have to? What if there’s still hope? What if you’ve just been going about it the wrong way?
I want to share with you a few ideas that I’ve seen work over and over again, even when we initially thought we could never do that.
- Get Everyone Praying
Prayer starts with you, but you need to encourage your board or leadership team and your church to join in. Be careful with your language. Don’t pray for change. Pray that God will use your church to reach your community. When people start praying the right prayers, they will be more open to making the right decisions. Prayer has a way of changing hearts, and that’s what you need to take place to move forward.
- Change Your Language
Negativity is contagious. The natural tendency for churches that are struggling is to talk about all the things that are going wrong. You have to change the conversation. This doesn’t mean you should ignore the problems. You just address them differently. Instead of talking about obstacles, you look at them as opportunities.
- Shift the Focus
If the focus is change, it’s never going to happen. Most people don’t like change. But most people do like the idea of growth and seeing people experience salvation or at least they should. Don’t start with change. Start with how can our church help people get to know Jesus and grow closer to Him. Answering that question should tell you where change needs to take place.
- Assume the Best
This is a really difficult one for me, and I’ll admit I’ve not always been the best at it. But, things tend to go better if you don’t look at your board or team or congregation and see them as being against you. That just creates a tension and attitude that isn’t going to help you. You’re better off assuming that the people in your church really do care about people meeting Jesus, even though they may disagree about the best way to go about it.
- Find a Win
It may not be the win you had in mind but find a win. Maybe you can’t change the entire worship team, but can you get them to allow the young guy or girl with talent to sing a song a week? Maybe you can’t start an entire kid’s ministry, but can you start a nursery? Don’t get discouraged because you can’t change everything at once. Find a way to get some small wins, learn to be patient, and over time those small wins allow you to get bigger wins.
How well does your church handle change? What’s one thing you’d like to see changed currently? Leave a comment and let us know. Also, if you ever need advice on leading through change I’d love to help. Shoot me a message and let’s get the conversation started.