Have you ever found yourself feeling an enormous amount of anxiety as you sit in a ministry meeting, hearing your leader describe an upcoming change to the way you currently do ministry?
The feeling can be paramount. It can be overtaking. Many of us begin to tune out the presenters dialogue and instantly start to think about that common thread that many of us are sensitive to; ourselves.
Thoughts that race through our minds usually include:
- “What does this mean for me?”
- “How does this affect the ministries that I oversee?”
- “How will others respond when I pass on the message?”
Internally, our minds tend to scramble as we apply the change to our current situations. We focus on the workload. We zoom into the infractions that we believe are occurring. We try to determine how the conclusion was made and how our leaders decided to implement this scary topic that seems to bombard our culture and the way we do ministry. This monster is called change.
As a church administrator, I am seemingly the chosen messenger to give these “glorious” presentations. I’ve adapted to it. I typically volunteer for the opportunity.
Some of you are reading this asking yourselves why I am raising my hand to be the least-liked leader among my church. But, it’s all in the perspective. It’s all about the preparation and how you gear up for the discussion. To me, it’s about me changing, for the change.
In leadership, it becomes a habit to prepare others for things to be different. This includes the alterations of a system, structure or even the transitioning of servants within their positions or roles. You become a pro at helping others evolve and deal with the changes that are preparing to meet them.
Although daunting, we have come to learn that change can be good, right?
Well, why is it so difficult to promote, foster and even create change? I believe it’s connected to us as decision makers, messengers and even the implementers. It’s in our preparation, within our mentality and even entangled into our own personal beliefs.
I always encourage others to first identify if there is any tweaking needed to their current process of implementation. Never stick to tradition or what you deem as normalcy. Step out of the box. Challenge yourself to identify your audience, your message and your end result when deciding on the communication factor and tools for this process.
I also find it beneficial to identify change agents. Change Agents aren’t simply those who will be implementing the change. They include your ministry influencers. They include those who are able to gain buy-in and rally people whenever a new process, strategy or culture shift is on the brink. Let’s be honest, even some of the naysayers have quite an influence on how the word is spread or communicated about the change. Invite those people in! Make the decision to give them a preview, answer their questions and engage them in effort to better prepare you for the rollout or presentation. As the leader, change for change.
One of ACS Technologies’ products, The City was a big change for our congregation. We were previously using another tool for ministry planning. When ramping up to use The City, the other tool was not being replaced. We were simple adding The City to our current culture in effort to build a deeper community as a ministry. We wanted to continue to make a large church small. Methodically, I had to map out how we would introduce this change. I had to try new strategies that I never gave consideration to in the past. I had to change for the change.
First, I had to ensure that I had a conviction about this new ACS Technologies product. Within no time, that conviction was there. Once you have a conviction about the change, your passion will be detected as you communicate and prepare others. The City was also intertwined with our overall ministry mission. So, this was another plus and made it easier for me to solicit the buy-in of change agents. With The City’s rollout at our church, I made a decision to change for the change.
But there was one thing that really challenged me; I had to slow down for the implementation of this new, powerful tool (The City). Instead of rolling it out in a timeframe that I saw fit, I had to put myself in the shoes of others. I had to understand their strengths, their growth areas, their intimidations and even some of the aspects that would excite them. I had to take my time and create a timeline that could appeal to the masses. Simply put, I had to change for the change.
When the leader first changes, the results can be monumental. Here we are now, eight months in to the release of using The City as a ministry and I am so grateful that we have an 87 percent engagement rate, along with 60 percent of our ministry using this ACS Technologies product.
These numbers aren’t exciting because they show my skill as a leader. These numbers are empowering because it shows the impact that The City is making by allowing our ministry to grow, to be more connected and to truly help make a large church small. It shows how a ministry partner from our 8 a.m. service can pray for or be a servant to another partner whom they rarely see simply because they attend the 10 a.m. service. It engages ministry partners who work on Sundays and may miss the worship experience for that particular day. Yet, they can connect with us as they read Pastor’s Posts regarding a current event, a Scripture text that can be helpful during their Biblical studies, or even an encouraging word from our Pastor or another ministry partner.
All of this is worth the change for the change.
As you work in ministry, you will find that there are always changes which are sometimes out of our control. There are also times when vision casting and implementing dreams and ministry resort to change. Leaders or volunteers may transition. Programming may need to evaluated and modified. Particular services offered may need to be streamlined or either enhanced. Regardless of the change, I have found that success lies in the leader first being willing to change. No two situations are the same. Therefore, the same process, layout or approach may not always be the answer.
Try changing first when you are faced with the task to present or proposing change. After it initially starts within you, you’ll find that it’s easier to chart a course of action for your ministry and its leaders.
It all starts with you! You have the influence and the ability to enforce it, to lead others into new territory. All it takes is your willingness to change.
Kendrea Moorer, M.B.A. is the Ministry Administrator III for New Covenant Believers’ Church in Columbus, OH under the leadership of Bishop Howard Tillman.