Change is inevitable. For better or for worse, under or out of your control – change is going to happen. Therefore it’s so important that we learn to master change, because if we aren’t able to maximize change, we’re always going to resent it and be frustrated by it, rather than feeling positioned and empowered to produce the fruit we desire.
As pastors and leaders, we need to be brilliant at leading people through the inevitable changes and new seasons that life holds. From having new leadership, fresh worship style, higher standards of excellence or reaching a completely different demographic, here are seven keys when it comes to leading a church through change:
1. Establish a sense of urgency.
Help people understand that the changes we make are timely and are necessary now. People need to know that by making this decision today, we’ll be better for it tomorrow. Charge the atmosphere of your church with a sense of “it’s time to move.”
2. Define the outcome before you begin.
Let your church know the greater destination of the changes you are making. For example, by changing from a traditional to a more contemporary worship style, we can reach more people and we can connect with a new generation that are largely unchurched. Help people be loyal to the future rather than the past.
3. Win over the key people.
Change comes by mobilizing the critical mass. Run things by specific people – the key influencers, those that will play a key part in carrying the weight of the change – before communicating to larger groups that are not yet so invested.
When you think you’ve communicated enough, go back and communicate everything again, and then again.
It’s not just to get things done or to make changes, but by keeping the vision out in front with clarity you can more easily lead people into that God-ordained future.
5. Generate short-term wins.
Identify the daily, weekly, monthly wins and rally around it! That little victory might not be your ultimate destination, but as people begin to see your destination more clearly along the way it breeds momentum.
6. Anchor your change in your culture.
Make the changes you’re attempting focussed on your ongoing culture, not just what you’ve historically accomplished.
For example, at Hillsong Church, our mission is “to reach and influence the world by building a large Christ-centred, Bible-based church, changing mindsets and empowering people to lead and impact in every sphere of life.”
Change, pioneering and stepping into the new is who we are! It’s not a destination we’ll one day stop at, but it something we continually be.
7. Give people a moment to catch their breath.
We’re always experiencing change – from work, to school, to family, to relationships and the world around us. Before you lead people into another disruptive (but good) change, let them take everything in, celebrate and rest, before you go and do it all over again!
This thought was inspired from a webinar entitled ‘Leading A Church Through Change’ hosted by Terry & Judith Crist during Online Open Week in February 2017. Online Open Week is your opportunity to receive impartation and leadership training direct from the Hillsong team through live webinars.
If you would like to watch the full recording or find out more about future events from the Hillsong Leadership Network, click below.