Moving from vision to change.
- People change slowly and so do leaders. Most congregations are static.
- Tradition inhibits change. We’ve never done that before! The more tradition prevents the church keeping with the times, when the time for change arrives, and it will, it becomes harder and harder.
- Weariness. Change requires energy, and when faced with it, many find it difficult physically and psychologically.
- Fear of stepping out of line. Perhaps more to do with leadership as it is difficult to do something new in the area.
- Loss of confidence. Knocked from all angles and from other leaders.
- Complacency. Some people are quite happy without change. It will be a nice idea, but only once they have left this earth for glory.
- Instant solutions. Planning and strategising are out the window! Results must be immediate!
- Recognising too many restraints. Cries of “Its too difficult” is easier to say than “OK. Lets try it at least this once”
There is always risk with vision. Don’t say “I don’t do change”. Where would we be if the risk takers in the bible and church history said “I don’t do…”
Correlation between vision and change?
A vision will generate the need for change without necessarily helping it to happen – Peter Brierley
Formula for change – C = (D + V + B + F) > £
D=Dissatisfaction – Israel were comfortable in the land of Egypt. Then the order to kill male babies came through and then the people became discontented and only then, was Moses able to call them out of Egypt to go to the promised land
V=Vision – Without vision or an indication of what is going to happen, change is hard to effect. The Israelites were told of the promised land as ‘a land of milk and honey’. Moses didn’t mention problems such as crossing the Red Sea; travelling the desert; Sinai thundering; forty years wandering etc.
B=Belief – Is there somebody who can be trusted to see the change through? All the miracles were enough to make the Israelites trust Moses, and bind them to their leader.
F=First Step – This obviously needs to be taken. For the Israelites, it was killing a young lamb and painting their door frames with the resultant blood.. When they did that, the Egyptians begged them to go whilst giving them gold and silver!
Dissatisfaction, Vision, Belief and First Steps are the four inherent parts of change.
£=Cost & Disadvantages – Change wont take place unless the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. The Israelites saw the weeping Egyptians and decided not to stay, so they took their possessions, the Egyptian gold and silver and fled! We need to allow the Holy Spirit to make things happen more radically and quickly than we can anticipate or imagine. It only took 14 days for the Israelites’ final call.
Saying You Don’t Do Change is not an option.
How do we treat and handle change as leaders?
As Leaders we need top :
- Identify motives
- Be humble
- Be prayerful
- Assess importance
- Seek opinions
- Be wise with words
- Be persuasive
- Be understanding
- Be specific
- Be persistent
- Be submissive
The Bible and change
- Jesus challenged existing society and thinking. The idea that the Messiah would suffer and serve and live in poverty and humility, was unthinkable to the Jewish people prior to His coming.
- We have a God who makes all things new! (Rev.21:5)
- All changes throughout history have been innovative on the part of God – the flood; call of Abraham; the Mosaic covenant; the Incarnation – all reflect God’s creation and innovative change.
- Jesus takes broken lives and changes them into new creations!! (2 Corinthians5:14-21)
Acts 10 to Acts 11:18 – Change in the embryonic church
- The church had to change to incorporate the Gentiles (Acts 10)
- God started where Peter was (vv9-16)
- God allowed Peter to challenge the idea (vv14-15)
- God gave Peter time to work through his resistance (vv16-17)
- God permitted Peter to observe change on a limited basis
- The change proposal was well prepared (vv1-7, 19-23, 30-33) and God anticipated Peter’s questions and provided the answers
- God didn’t ask Peter to change, but rather invited him to participate in improving what Peter already loved and the advantage of the new over the old (v34)
- God convinced a key leader and allowed that leader to champion the change to others (Acts 11:1-18). God recognized that it is easier to work with an individual, rather than an entire group of people. This principle is also seen in his dealing wit the nation of Israel in the Old Testament.
What hinders change in a local church
In order for a church to change, it needs to be able to cooperate.
- Firstly with the Holy Spirit, and with what God has planned.
- Secondly leadership and congregation need to cooperate and understand what is going on, and how to initiate the change.
- Lastly with newcomers as the change is taking place.
Blessings and peace,