Tuesday, May 17, 2016

But...We've Never Done It That Way Before

Change is hard.  Ministry is hard.  And trying to implement change into ministry can be incredibly difficult.  One of the biggest mistakes that people can make in ministry is to change lots of stuff all at once.  Even if you've been at the same church for ten years...change it not easy.  People expect some change when a new person comes into the department.  I've talked about that in this previous post.  But you may decide to implement something brand new long after you are no longer "new" and that has it's own challenges.  Below are a few suggestions that you might find helpful.

Why was it not changed before now?
I like trying new things, and if you are talking about something small, then it may not matter.  After all, if you're church has had chocolate chip cookies for snack at VBS for the last 30 years then maybe it's time for a change.  However, sometimes even those small things carry way more baggage than you might realize at first glance.  Perhaps the reason those cookies are always made is because Sister Cook's-A-Lot made them every year for 25 years and when she passed away she left the recipe and the funds to cover the making of said cookies for the next 20 years in her will.  Trying to change that tradition will be more difficult...after all, now there are funds literally set aside for those cookies that you would have to find elsewhere if you decided not to make them.  I know that is an extreme scenario, but it's not really out of the realm of possibility.  I once had someone absolutely irate at me to the point of not talking to me for quite some time over where we were going to purchase chicken for a dinner.  Make sure you know why something has always been done before you change it.  A little research can save you a lot of grief.

Is it needed?
I am not saying that it's not good to change things up from time to time, but if you are making a major change (and the definition of major changes differs from church to church), be sure you can explain why you feel the change in necessary.  "Because I want to" probably isn't going to work very well.  Have a well thought out explanation for what you are trying to change and why it you feel it is necessary. 

Include your Team
Big changes often take a lot of planning and a lot of work.  Don't decide to revamp the entire way you are doing children's church without talking through it with your team.  You may be the one who makes the final call, but they have to help you implement the plan.  If you are adding all sorts of work to their duties, changing what they will be responsible for, or even adding an extra piece to the service structure, make sure you include them in the conversation.  If they are on board, half the battle is over, but if they are not with you, you are sunk before you begin.  Plus, they will have insights that you might not have noticed or thought about in your planning phase.  They are on your team for a reason...include them in the process.   

Cover Everything in Prayer
Make sure God is the center of whatever changes you make.  If it is His plan, it will prosper...if it's your plan and He's not leading, it will fail.  It really is that simple.

Sometimes changes are necessary, but if you use these few suggestions, walking through those changes, it can make the path much smoother.

Until next week!   

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