There are no perfect churches, which means there are needed changes in every church. How a pastor goes about making these changes will, in part, determine the future health and effectiveness of the church. Here are 10 keys that will help in making needed, God-honoring changes in a church.
Ask God for wisdom and guidance. Ask God for patience as you lead. Ask God to help those in your church see the needs that exist. Ask God for unity. Thank God for the opportunity to serve his church.
2- View making needed changes as an aspect of discipleship.
Some people don’t realize what changes are needed because they have not been taught. Perhaps they don’t understand the biblical purpose of a church. Perhaps they don’t really know how to measure health in a church.
When you view making changes as an aspect of discipleship you will be more willing to give people time to grow in their understanding of why the change is needed.
3- Spend time with people.
Spending time with people does two things. First, the more you spend time with people the more you will know and care about how change will affect them. Second, as you spend time with people they will get to know you and your heart for the ministry. Spending time with people will make you more caring and the congregation more trusting.
4- Learn why things are the way they are.
Someone once told me, “Never take down a fence until you know why it was put up.” There is great wisdom in this. Maybe something is how it is for a valid reason you have not thought about. Or maybe there is no valid reason. Either way you need to know the background.
5- Know the vision of your church.
Where is your church going? Changes that are not tied to a vision will frustrate people. If people in your church understand how the proposed changes will help them accomplish the vision for the church, they will be more likely to embrace it.
6- Start with what you can.
Some things can be changed and no one will care. Start there. The effects of these seemingly small changes will begin to accumulate over time.
7- Continually get feedback from key people.
Every church as these key people who can either greatly help you as you lead or can severely hinder you. Helping these people see why change is needed will help your efforts.
8- Take advantage of key opportunities.
Sometimes circumstances will open a door for a more significant change without the pastor having to initiate it. Let’s say a staff members leaves. You have been thinking about the need for staff restructuring, but have not wanted to push it too hard. Because of the circumstances that have presented themselves, you now have the opportunity to take a big step forward without it being perceived as something you forced to happen.
9- Communicate the change clearly.
I dealt with this in a PREVIOUS POST, but it cannot be overstated. Failing to communicate change clearly and deliberately will undermine everything else you have done to this point.
10- Move slowly but deliberately.
Haphazard changes will destroy trust. Moving too quickly will scare people. However, failing to move at all will frustrate and run off those who see the need for changes.
Move slowly, but move.
Change is never easy, but usually necessary. Following these 10 points will help you make the changes God is leading you to make.