By: David Batten
There comes a point in every churches history where change must take place. It may be the building of a new building or the decision to head in a new direction, but regardless of what the change is, there will always be those who resist it. As a leader, it is your job to come up with a way in which to satisfy everyone’s needs and desires. Here are a few tips on how to help those who normally resist change embrace it.
Have A Genuine Respect For The Older Folks
Stop right here and consider some realities. This “change resister” generation is more than likely the ones God used to build the church thus far. Their faithfulness, or their sacrifice, laid the foundation you are standing on today. Respect for them (and the price they paid) cannot be faked. It must be genuine. After all, their age, in most cases, makes them wise enough to know if you are sincere or not. Respect, and sometimes even admiration, from the “young” leadership will go a long way with this generation.
Use Them As A Resource
We may be more educated, we are probably more in touch with the younger generation, and we definitely have more energy, but…. “Wisdom comes with age.” While their ideas and philosophy are wrapped tightly in tradition and “old-fashioned-ness,” there is still a lot of wisdom in that package. Solomon said, “There is safety in a multitude of counselors.” We should collect advice from many sources, including this gang I call “change resisters.”
Take Some Sentiment And Tradition With You
Whether you are designing a new worship facility or creating a new way to conduct the worship service, why make drastic change? You may need a major change, but consider keeping some of the old.
It is a well-documented fact that people resist change. This applies to all ages. We are all uncomfortable with something new. Do you remember the new neighborhood, the new school, the new church, and the new kid on the block? All of these things started with uneasy feelings that eventually relaxed. In most cases, we gradually adjust and become comfortable with the new environment.
With churches, isn’t the idea to make people comfortable coming to church? With drastic change, you are destined to send some running. Yes, you will also draw a few new ones, but let’s take a reality check here. We are not talking about trading cars: we are speaking of our family – God’s family. It seems reasonable that we should attempt to make them all feel at home.
I have noticed a trend in evangelical churches. When we speak of our worship style, we say, “ We have a traditional service,” or “We have a contemporary worship style.” Many have separate services so they can have one of each. But, why not have a blend of different styles and flavors? Why do we feel the need to put all of our eggs in one basket?
When designing your new “21st Century” Worship Facility, consider incorporating some of the old in a tasteful way. Be creative, but don’t forget to give honor to the sacrifices and traditions that were established early on in your church’s history.