What is one of the most difficult actions to take place in a church? In my opinion, the hardest thing to bring about in most churches is change. The majority of people within any group are resistant to change. So much change is occurring with people in their individual lives. Young people must adjust from being in school to entering the workforce. Newlyweds must cope with learning how to live with their new spouse. Children are experiencing many changes as they become older. The move from being middle aged to becoming a senior citizen is not always a fun thing to do. All humans experience constant change that is usually not under our control. There are always changes occurring with our jobs, our health, our economy, our relationships, our loved ones; the list goes on and on. I have found that with most people there is so much change they are experiencing, they may not be so agreeable to change happening in their church. Many of them say, “OK, I have to go through changes in so many areas of my life but I don’t want things to change within my church!” They see their church as a place of refuge and they want things to remain the same.
So, you may be asking why does change have to happen within my church? First of all, God tends to bring about change in our world as He continues to become involved in our lives. The very act of His saving a person’s soul will bring about change. Furthermore, the Book of Romans tells us in chapter 12 to let the Word of God renew our minds on a daily basis. This renewal will bring about transformation. Transformation brings about change. Usually, if a change is being introduced in a believer’s life, he or she is most likely experiencing a prompting by God’s Spirit to allow this to happen. A believer must allow transformation to take place in order for him or her to be a growing disciple of Jesus Christ. This is one way we can crucify the flesh in order to walk in the Spirit. God has a purpose when He introduces change to us.
I believe the art of successfully implementing change happens when the person who is trying to lead change patiently waits on others to buy into the idea. This method is often referred to as the transition phase. When a leader takes a group through a time of transition it allows the Lord time to communicate His will to the church. It is actually a time for the church to wrap their minds around the proposed change.
Spiritual leaders must take the time to share God’s vision with the church. The congregation is able to learn the details as to why the Lord is seeing the need for a particular change to take place. This kind of sharing can occur one-on-one or in a group setting. There have been times when I communicated the vision through a variety of ways: print media, sermons, or even church-wide gatherings. Usually, when God’s people thoroughly understand that God is speaking to them regarding any type of change, they will gladly follow the vision.
It is of primary importance for everyone to remember to prayerfully seek the Lord for His guidance. If some element of change is being introduced to the church I believe God will tell the whole church about it. Let God have His sovereign will in the matter. No one should attempt to force the issue. If God is truly driving the vision for change, it will come about in an orderly way. In many cases, change is vitally important to allow God’s church to stay on task in fulfilling the Great Commission.