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LEADING CHANGE

 Leading Change

            Change is necessary!  As a matter of fact, if we do not change anything in 2013 we will end the year just like 2012.  The question must be asked, “Is that acceptable?”  The need for change is quite apparent in some areas:

  • ·        Desire to be closer to God.
  • ·        Burden to share our faith more often.
  • ·        Churches to experience vibrant worship.
  • ·        Closer and deeper fellowship with other believers.
  • ·        The power of God evident in our lives.
  • ·        The need to learn how to rest in the Lord.
  • ·        The ability to prioritize better.

John Kotter has written a lot about change (Leading Change & Our Iceberg is Melting) and has made it his business to study the successes and failures in change.  While his focus has been primarily in the business world, truth is truth.  It is interesting how many of his observations sound very familiar to the process of change in a church.  He writes, “The most general lesson to be learned from the more successful cases is that the change process goes through a series of phases that, in total, usually require a considerable length of time. Skipping steps creates only the illusion of speed and never produces satisfactory results” and “making critical mistakes in any of the phases can have a devastating impact, slowing momentum and negating hard-won gains.”

Kotter’s eight phases of change are:

  • ·        Establish a Sense of Urgency
  • ·        Form a Powerful Guiding Coalition
  • ·        Create a Vision
  • ·        Communicate that Vision
  • ·        Empower Others to Act on the Vision
  • ·        Plan for and Create Short-Term Wins
  • ·        Consolidate Improvements and Keep the Momentum for Change Moving
  • ·        Institutionalize the New Approaches

First he suggests that you must, Establish a Sense of Urgency – Talk of change typically begins with someone noticing vulnerability or weaknesses that need to be addressed. The reality of not being where God wants us to be can be used of God to motivate His people into action, and they, in turn, try to communicate that sense of urgency to others.  Kotter notes that over half the companies he has observed have never been able to create enough urgency to prompt action. “Without motivation, people won’t help and the effort goes nowhere.”

  It is reported that 85% of all churches have either plateaued or are declining.  Of the 15 % growing only 1% is growing because of conversions.   When does the urgency level get high enough for change to occur?  Kotter suggests it is when 75% of your leadership is honestly convinced that business as usual is no longer an acceptable plan.  Do we not see and know enough right now to see the need for a sense of urgency?  It has been said by many that we will not change until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change!

Leading a church to change is not easy and in many ways more difficult than leading a business to change.  There is always the concern that the gospel or doctrine would be changed or threatened, but you can change many things while protecting the truth of God’s word.  The following is a formula for change: A + B + C > D.  A = Dissatisfaction with the status quo.  B = Knowledge of a better alternative.  C = Knowledge of first steps.  D = The cost of making the change.  Change begins with an honest evaluation of our present reality followed by a vision for our preferred future.  Then you can begin working on how to get there.

Change for a Christian and a church should be the normal natural pattern.  You cannot become a child of God without repentance; a change of mind and direction.  Once you become a child of God you are to be transformed and that means changing every day to become more and more like Christ.  We need an ABC moment.  Awareness that something needs to change. Belief that God will transform your church.  Crisis you are willing to deal with for the change to occur. What is it that we need to change in our lives and in our churches to see God move in 2013 in a powerful and mighty way?