Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change

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John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life.” There are many pastors who wish they could break or circumvent that law, but it would be better to embrace it as reality and adjust sails to navigate successfully the winds of change.

Change has happened, is happening and will happen. It can be situational, circumstantial, providential or transformational, but it does not have to be fatal or final. It will be what you understand about it and what you make of it.

However, change is not nearly as important as transition. According to William Bridges, “It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions.” Change is an event, transition is the process people will journey through to adapt to the change. “Change is external, transition is internal” (Bridges). In his book, William Bridges uses images from businesses and the Bible (Moses) to help the reader understand the process of making the journey from the prison of procrastination through the wilderness of confusion to the “promised land” of the preferred future.

“Whatever is, will change. … Where there’s change, there’s transition. That’s the utterly predictable equation: change + human beings = transition. There is no way to avoid it. But you can manage it. You can. And if you want to come through in one piece, you must” (Bridges).

There are plenty of good books and experts in the area of change or transition management. John Kotter and James Belasco are among my favorite scholars on the subject. However, if I could only have one book on the topic, it would be Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change, by William Bridges. Short, sequential and straight to the point: a very good read.

State Missionary Daniel Edmonds serves as director of the Office of Sunday School & Discipleship. He may be contacted at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 285, or (334) 613-2285, dedmonds@alsbom.org.

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