With the latest data showing less than stellar predictions of church growth and expansion, it’s time that we conclude that change is needed. We are all too familiar with a quote that is attributed to Albert Einstein’s regarding his definition of insanity – “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
We may not be as familiar with his quote regarding intelligence. Here it is – “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” Albert Einstein.
We know the message (the Gospel) never changes, but methodology should be subjective and contextualized.
While the need for change remains urgent, Christian leaders are compelled to exercise patience and persistence in the face of much-needed reforms. How then do church leaders find the balance between being patient and pushing for change within the church context?
With Prayer and Reflection
Changes within the local church are likely to be moot when they are implemented without prayer and reflection. Nobody should attend a conference or attend a webinar and try to execute changes without first praying it through. Don’t be moved by emotions, desperation, or the need to try the latest, greatest magic bullet. It is only through prayer and reflection that we can be guided by the Holy Spirit towards the kind of change that can enrich the local church.
Through Study and Wise Counsel
What we deem as needed changes should be based on the basis of effectiveness, which can only be achieved through prayer, study, and advice of wise counsel. For reforms to be both lasting and impactful, we must deepen our knowledge of what must be accomplished and how. This, of course, takes time, patience, and persistence.
By Exercising Compassion
Compassion is the seed of change. Think about it: if we do not care for our neighbors, then we, as individuals, have no reason to change what we have accepted as norms. It is through enduring compassion that the church appeal can be heard by all.
By Emulating Jesus’ Leadership
Following the footsteps of Jesus’ leadership serves as the ultimate guide for change that can positively affect local congregations. However, we mustn’t forget that Jesus is also the beacon of patience. Instead of being in a hurry, Jesus spent years teaching and traveling so that His message can reach far and wide. Therefore, as church leaders, we must do as Jesus did and plant the seeds of lasting change, and nurture them until maturity.
Leaders – take a church planter mindset and do what they do with regards to team training. Get your core team on board. Equip them with the “why” of the needed changes. This will help them communicate it to other church members who may be asking questions. By taking this step, you will gain unity and prevent many from being anxious about change.