10 Things Church Leaders Should Recognize About Handling Change

Change is never easy. How do you handle it?
Change is never easy. How do you handle it? (iStock photo )

Regardless of what anyone says, no one likes change but a baby. But successful leaders know change is not only a constant reality, it is necessary for continued success.

Change is a true constant to be leveraged, not a temporary burden to avoid.

I love the Bible. It is simply the greatest leadership book ever written. In Genesis 32:22-32, we read the story of Jacob wrestling with God. During this struggle, God changed Jacob and an entire nation for the rest of human history. God wants to change us as well.

As I read the text, I gleaned the following 10 Things Church Leaders Should Know About Handling Change:

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1. Change affects those you love. "The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of the Jabbok" (Gen. 32:22). Leading change is not popular. People do not want to change, especially their music or worship service. Therefore, the effects of change on a leader's life are often experienced by their family as well.

2. Change costs you some change. "He took them and sent them across the stream along with all that he had" (Gen. 32:23). Leading change comes with a high price tag. It costs pastors and church leaders something emotionally, physically, financially and often positionally.

3. Change can be lonely. "Jacob was left alone" (Gen 32:24a). During times of change, you need time to think, strategize, plan, gain perspective and pray. But leading change is often a lonely process. It sometimes feels like we have no friends.

4. Change takes time. "A man wrestled with him there until daybreak" (Gen 32:24b). Change is often a process, not an event.

5. Change requires struggle. "He did not prevail against Jacob" (Gen. 32:25). Change is not easy. But be encouraged; struggle is necessary for strength and sustainability.

6. Change does not leave you the same. "He touched the socket of his thigh, so the socket of Jacob's thigh was dislocated" (Gen. 32:25). Pastors and church leaders will learn more, suffer more, experience more, grow more and become more like Jesus during times of change than anything (except evaluated failure).

7. Change requires grit. "But Jacob said, 'I will not let You go, unless You bless me'" (Gen. 32:26). Change is hard. Change is a grind. Change requires persistence. But this is the power of a God-given vision. You have seen a picture of your preferred future and this encourages you to stay in the game.

8. Change requires humility. "He said to him, 'What is your name?' And he said, 'Jacob"' (Gen. 32:27). Smart pastors and church leaders have the humbleness and self-awareness to know when change is required. Ironically, the toughest things to change are the ministries you initiated.

9. Change is necessary for you to get better. "Then the man said, 'Your name will no more be called Jacob, but Israel. For you have fought with God and with men, and have prevailed"' (Gen. 32:28). What you did to become successful today will not keep you successful tomorrow. New strategies, techniques and approaches will be required.

10. Change allows you to see God. "I have seen God face to face, and my life has been preserved" (Gen. 32:30). This is the essence of discipleship. God takes us from where we are to somewhere better.

What do you need to change today?

Brian Dodd's daytime job is as a Generosity Architect and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship SolutionsINJOY Stewardship Solutions. During the last 10+ years, he has spent each day having one-on-one conversations with many of the greatest church leaders in America. He also also has over 25 years of church volunteer and staff experience. Check out his blog: Brian Dodd on Leadership.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

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