Tuesday, November 12, 2013

To Change Or Not To Change

Everything involves change!  

Our entrance into life takes us from the security of the womb to the uncertainty of the world; our early childhood development transitions us from the nurture of the home to the culture of the school yard; our teenage years substitutes the instruction of our parents for the influence of our peers; adulthood expects us to convert an education into a career; marriage replaces our individuality with a partnership; and so, the pattern of change continues throughout every stage of life.

Resistance to change or rebellion against change in the natural rhythms of life may frustrate the process but cannot stop the paradigm.  Ultimately, change is not a choice but an inevitable characteristic of life.

As a Christian leader who is passionate about Christ followers and the Church fulfilling their redemptive potential and purpose, I fully embrace the necessity for change in both the physical and spiritual realms.  In his book Leadership On The Axis Of Change, Chick Yuill affirms the necessity for change as the primary role of the church, “God has brought His church into existence to be the supreme agent of change. Its mission is not to stop the future but to shape it.”  Yet, often the church puts up some of the greatest resistance to change and abdicates its prophetic role to shape the future by reliving the past!  It is for this reason that I cannot accept the status quo and will do whatever it takes to facilitate the change necessary to be the church God has called us to be.

Recently, while implementing necessary changes in my ministry context, I was confronted by strong resistance and rebellion.  My response, while maybe a little direct, expressed a determination not to be deterred by the naysayers.  After connecting the proposed changes to God's vision for our church, I declared to those refusing to let go of the way things were, "I'm not here to make you happy, but to make this work and I will do whatever it takes to make that happen.  But here is the tradeoff.  When this works, you will be happy!"  I am not sure how my response aligns with conventional change management practices, but it does express the degree of my "holy discontent" with opposition to change.

A healthy attitude towards change unleashes all sorts of possibilities for the church to be a transforming movement towards what could be rather than a monument to what once was.

“If we motivate enough people to invest in a changing church, we may well see a world that is radically changed for the better.” (Chick Yuill, Leadership On The Axis Of Change)

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