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Understanding Change

Last week I shared about understanding change and how it is a constant in our life and ministry.  We can either choose to be reactive or proactive.  Leaders are in a position to be proactive and able to help lead their teams and organization in change.  The fact that change is often difficult requires that we approach it wisely.  Here are some of the important questions that need to be asked when leading change.  Is this change essential to the mission?  Does it help our church become more effective in carrying out the Great Commission?  If you are not able to help your people understand the “why” it will be difficult to motivate them to embrace the change you are suggesting.  After understanding the “why” a leader still needs to ask, “Is this the right time?”  “Is there a true sense of urgency that will foster the needed motivation to embrace the change?” “Have I accurately and frequently communicated well the reason for change that allows my people time to understand and accept the change?” (Remember that you have had ample time to think about and work through the change you are proposing, but for some it is the first time they have heard it and need time to catch up with you.)  “Have I made a solid case for how this will be an improvement?” (Note: you can change without improving, but you cannot improve without change.)  “Is there already a group of people willing to support and follow through on implementing the change?”  “Am I wiling as a leader to see the change through to completion?” “Have a fostered good will by previous short-term wins?”  “Am I as a leader willing to spend the relational capital I have to bring the change about?”   These and other questions are helpful to assess the viability of the proposed change. As a leader, this is often the biggest challenge you will face but can also be the most rewarding as well.  Remember, the heart of the gospel is change. It is a call to repent, to change direction and our allegiance from this sinful world and corrupt nature to follow Christ.  But the results are glorious and eternal! – Dr. Gary Mathes