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10 Must Do’s to Navigate Change in Ministry

John Gilman October 21, 2013

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Change is difficult, especially in the church world. We are all creatures of habit and it doesn’t take long to get comfortable in our ministries. Here are 10 proven tips to help guide leaders when making those tough decisions.

1. Timing: Timing is everything! Sometimes we can do the right thing, but execute it at the wrong time. Patience is the key and sensing the right time to move ahead with change is vital to the success of your ministry.

2. Do your research: Make sure you know the in’s and out’s of the benefits and goals for what you are replacing and/or updating in your ministry. People will have questions – you need to be confident in your answers.

3. Test the waters: Find some people you trust and bounce the ministry idea off of them. Listen to their feedback – it may give you a different perspective you need to hear.

4. Change with a purpose: Ministry changes should never be made on a whim or just because we’re frustrated with out current situation. Reactionary change usually takes our ministry backwards. Make sure the motive and purpose is on target.

5. Senior pastor is on board: If you are a staff member or volunteer in leadership, it is imperative to have the senior pastor in full support. He can help champion the change.

6. Pray: Seek the Lord and His wisdom as you come to a decision. God teaches us a lot during these times and reminds us that He is in control.

7. Strategic sharing: When making changes, most of us know whom this change might aggravate or upset. Instead of ignoring or avoiding them, meet with them face to face and share with them what the plan is. They may not agree, but they will respect you for being considerate of them.

8. Pull the trigger: A great quality of a strong leader is the ability to “pull the trigger” and make a final decision. This is so true in ministry! After a certain amount of research, praying, and talking, it is time to make a decision.

9. Communicate effectively: Once  a decision is made, it is important to communicate it properly and in a timely manner. Good communication can solve a lot of problems before they can get started.

10. Handle objections: Good leaders know that pleasing everyone isn’t realistic. However, how we handle those who aren’t supportive is important. The key here is to be a good listener. The decision has already been made, so simply listen and show love to these individuals. Trust God through this process and pray that He honors the change to help you be more effective and grow your ministry.

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