Change is dangerous.
It’s been over a decade now since I was called into my very first board meeting. I wasn’t on staff at the time and had only been attending the church for a couple of years, but I was already in trouble.
You see, before this blog, I wrote another blog called Your Everyday Christian, where I shared my thoughts. It was a post titled, “New Wine” that got me in trouble. I referenced the scripture from Jesus who said, “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins…But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. The old is just fine, they say.”
My take on the scripture didn’t sit well with a couple of the people on the board. See if you can understand why.
“Doesn’t this sound like some of the church world today? Refusing to change, even though their ways haven’t worked in 50 years. We’re more concerned with the music, than the lost. We’d rather talk bad about the growing church down the street, than learn from them. The Pharisees didn’t die off after Jesus. They’re still in churches today. If you want to know who they are, just start changing things in your church to make it better. They’ll make themselves known quick. I just don’t like the idea of getting rid of Sunday school; we’ve done it since this church was founded. Yeah, and I’m sure the 15 people that you have left at your church still like it. We need to forget about the traditions and concentrate on the salvations. I may be a Baptist, but I want some new wine in my cup.”
Not exactly my best writing, but it was enough to cause quite a stir among some power players within the church, which was never my intention.
Ultimately, the results of that board meeting would change the direction of my life and the direction of the church.
Somehow it fell in my favor.
Some people got mad and left that night. Others would leave a few months later, and a couple actually decided to stay.
It wasn’t how you would’ve wanted it to happen, but it was something that needed to happen.
So, how do you know when it’s the right time to start a change?
- You know God is behind it. You have to be careful with this one because it’s easy to be abused. This is where you want to make sure the people you trust are feeling the same thing you are. You get this wrong, and you could set yourself and the church back a few years. It’s hard to regain trust once you’ve lost it.
- It becomes obvious to others. Now, not everyone may agree that there’s a problem. They certainly didn’t in our church, but you’ll start to see a growing percentage of people who realize there’s a problem and feel like something needs to be done about it. Again, if you try to change too soon, people won’t embrace it. If you wait too long, the people who saw the problem in the beginning may have already left your church because you didn’t address it soon enough.
- The key influencers are on board. Every church has influencers who people naturally follow their lead. You need to spend time with these people to talk through problems and solutions before you present it to the entire church. You want to gain their support if possible, but you also can’t allow them to hold the church hostage to their way of thinking. Sometimes losing an influencer and the people following them is the cost of change.
- You’re ready for the challenge. Initiating change in a church is a challenge that cannot be taken lightly. You have to make sure you have the energy for it. If you’re not in a good place personally, then by all means don’t try it. Think of it as a trek into the wilderness with no idea when you’ll return. Make sure you’re prepared for what lies ahead.
Change can be extremely difficult, but it’s also so rewarding. Make sure the timing is right for change, but when you know it’s right, don’t hesitate. People’s eternities are on the line.
Need to change, but not sure where to start? I’d love to help guide you in the process. Send a message to my contact page, and let’s get the conversation started.