Rick Warren: Before You Lead Your Church Through Change

Rick-Warren-newIf your church has plateaued in its growth for a while or shows signs of being unhealthy, things may need to change, and the pastor is the point person to produce positive change in any church’s culture.

Having said that, leading a church through change is difficult, and sometimes it can be detrimental if you don’t consider some important questions before starting the process.

Three aspects of change you should evaluate before shaking things up are:

1. Location

  • Is this church in the right place for growth?
  • Are there more people around this church that we should be reaching?
  • Does this church actually need to die and be reborn somewhere else?
  • Is there a more receptive area where we could reach more people?
  • Could I be a more effective leader somewhere else?
  • What is the realistic potential if the church is renewed successfully?

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2. Leadership

  • Am I the right pastor to lead this change?
  • Is this the kind of church I should be pastoring?
  • Do I match the congregation? Do I match the community?
  • Is the existing leadership likely to support me in change?

3. Longevity

The final question you need to wrestle with is, Am I willing to give the rest of my life to this church? If you aren’t willing to stay the course, don’t start the painful process of changing things. What you will wind up doing is messing up someone else’s church.

If you are going to stay as long as it takes for change to bear fruit, then make a public commitment to stay. The fact is, churches don’t grow by changing pastors every two years. They grow because the pastor stays and grows into the leader God means him to become.


Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times best-seller The Purpose Driven Life. His book The Purpose Driven Church was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

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