In order for a church to be an effective missional church in the present culture, a senior pastor is often forced to lead the church through a period of change. New methods must be utilized and a new paradigm established. I’ve watched as a massive number of pastors have been forced out of their church because they were understanding of the need to change but unwise in going about making change. Below you’ll find a list of ten practices of those pastors I’ve seen make change and survive to lead the church they had always dreamed of leading.
Pastors who lead change and survive…
- …pray, study God’s Word, and seek wise counsel until they are 100% certain God is requiring them to lead the church through change.
- …are aware that there are five types of people in the congregation when making change, 1) Innovators (are dreamers and originators of new ideas), 2) early adopters (are those who know a good idea when they see it and their opinions are respected by others) , 3) middle adopters (are the majority, they respond to the opinions of others) 4) late adopters (are the last group to endorse an idea and often speak against the changes and will adopt if it if the majority demonstrates support) 5) Laggards (are always against change, are committed to the status quo, and often create division) and move at a pace that allows every category of person who will join them to come on board.
- …recognize those who are influencers (influencers with and without a title) and carefully bring them into the conversation early in the change process.
- …spend time with God daily in personal study of God’s Word (not the same time as time spent to prepare to preach and/or teach) and prayer and in so doing protect their hearts from the Enemy’s attack.
- …exercise daily and in so doing consistently relieve inner tensions that build up in them.
- …always lend a listening ear to those who are concerned about the changes being made and never attack or demean the parishioners who are bold enough to discuss the changes with them.
- …are willing to, again and again, take two steps forward and one step back realizing that they will ultimately arrive at their predetermined destination.
- …utilize every vacation day they have and spend it escaping the pressures raining down on them.
- …wisely and sincerely remind those who are disturbed about the changes being made that every new practice is a trial run and if it doesn’t accomplish the goals the church leadership has in mind the new practice will be set aside.
- …nurtures the hearts of the staff team they lead while making it possible for each staff member to attain the training necessary to be effective in their new or tweaked role.