In my profession, I deal with change – a lot. Change is a six-letter word that brings fear, trepidation, and anxiety. To some, change is a dirty six-letter word. And yet, it is not change that is bad. In fact, it is not even that most people dislike change. However, we do not like change forced upon us.
We change in every area of our life. We do not listen to music as we did just 5-10 years ago. Television has changed and the way we watch TV has changed dramatically. The clothes we wear, the way we cook. We could go on and on listing the changes in our lives. So why do we dislike change in the church (or other organization) to which we belong.
Organizationally speaking, people need to be led through change. Properly leading change will bring less stress and anxiety. First, carefully select those who will assist in determining and leading change in your church (organization). There are four quality characteristics to look for in each person to be recruited for such a vision/revitalization team.
- Open-minded – Every person on the team must be open to new ideas, thoughts, and concepts. The absence of open-mindedness in team members can bring sudden death to any new ideas and needed change.
- Forward thinking – To move forward, to make progress, the team collectively must think in forward terms. Living in the past and trying to recreate past “good times” will only lead to stalemating the process. Forward thinking requires creative thinking.
- Ready to speak – Each person on the team has an equal voice (including the pastor or leader). Each one has insights and life’s experiences that others on the team do not. Remaining quiet is not allowing the team to process all thoughts and ideas properly. Each person’s thoughts need to be voiced so that the team can make the most justified decision.
- Willing to Listen – Because each person on the team has an equal voice/representation, all team members must be willing to listen to every other team member, even when others may express opposite views. Healthy debate can only occur when everyone will speak openly and listen equally to all viewpoints.
Selecting the right team members will help start the process and will carry the organization much further than creating a team of “because they’re in leadership” members. Elected leaders are not always the best for this vision creating team. They may be better suited to finesse and implement the ideas in his/her ministry area.
The best place to start is with prayer. First, pray for your personal thinking (or that of your pastor/leader). Pray that you will have the four quality characteristics even in the selection process. Pray for God to bring to mind the people in your organization who have the four qualities listed above. Then pray individually for the names that come to mind.
In any building or remodel project the greatest key is getting started right. Proper selection is getting started right. In your next project, how will employ these thoughts in getting Started Right?
George Yates is the Church Health Strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, assisting churches and individuals in pursuing God’s purpose for life. Learn more at ALSBOM.org/revitalization.