“That’s not how we’ve done it in the past,” a church member retorted when asked to participate in a new ministry program.
This is an all too familiar response when it comes to ministry. Change can be downright scary. I myself am a type-A personality. However, I also know that we need to embrace change in order to adapt to the changing needs of the people we strive to serve.
In the book, Who Moved My Cheese?, author Spencer Johnson describes four ways that people deal with change. The book is centered around four mice and their source of food, the cheese, has been moved to a different location.
- Sniff detects change early and adjusts his life around the impending change.
- Scurry, upon discovering change, plans and prepares for it.
- Hem doesn’t like that the cheese has moved and chooses to not go looking for it.
- At first, Haw stays with Hem and also complains about the cheese being moved to another location. Once he begins to feel the ill effects of not having cheese, he decides to go looking for the cheese.
Can you see yourself or some of the people you serve in these mice? As the book teaches, change can benefit all involved if leaders embrace it and plan for it. And, as a leader, you can help those in your ministry who may have a hard time dealing with change. Consider the following steps to help them view change in light of the bigger picture of ministry:
Create a Plan Together – Instead of leaving her with no direction, mark out a clear plan of what the future of the ministry will look like and why the changes are necessary. This will help her know how to move the ministry forwards, not backwards.
Help Her Process Loss – Behind fear of change is typically a fear that we will have nothing to offer the new ministry. Help her to discover how her unique gifts will be useful to accomplish the vision of the ministry.
Communicate a Clear Vision – As a leader, you have a clear picture of what the ministry is aiming to accomplish. Help her see where the ministry is headed, so she can see that the changes being made will help everyone to execute the vision.
Reproduce New Leaders – Help her to identify someone within the ministry as a potential new leader. Remind her of the goals of the ministry and that as new leaders are produced, more women will be ministered to and introduced to the Gospel.
Change can be difficult but you have the opportunity as a leader to help your women embrace change for the purpose of furthering the ministry vision and ultimately the Gospel.
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