Ministry Change: How and When to Lean In and Lean Out

We would probably all agree that most (if not all) ministries and churches need change . . . at least at some level. The changes needed range from those that are merely surface to those that are systemic in nature.

Leaders often get into trouble when they either try to move too quickly to reach their change objectives or when they move too slowly and lack decisiveness in their decision-making.

The human and organizational dynamics should heavily influence how and when change is pursued. Learning to read those dynamics can help you shift your internal culture which is much more important than the specific changes you have in sight.

So, here are a few suggestions to help you discern when and how to lean in and lean out of change:

Lean In

Seize opportunities when doors, windows or cracks are open.

Recognize, value and pursue incremental change. It will lead to greater opportunity.

Go BIG when large opportunities present themselves.

Learn to sense when people are hungry for change. That hunger can fuel a quantum leap in your ministry.

Follow momentum. If you gain movement in a certain area, go with it.

Lean Out

Timing is still everything. If things aren’t flowing well, maybe the timing just isn’t right.

Frustration can be a great dynamics indicator. Consider pulling back if a lot of people (I don’t mean a vocal minority) seem unusually agitated by the change you are pursuing.

A clear and concise driving concept is critical. If the concept hasn’t yet solidified, you may need to pause, refocus and nail down your game plan.

A few more posts I’ve written about change are here and here.

Here are a few articles you might also find helpful:

The Best Changes

How do we cooperate with God’s change process?

5 Lessons Churches Must Learn To Survive

Managing Technological Change in Ministry

Should Your Church Change with the Culture?

What have I left out that needs to be added to these suggestions? How have you successfully shifted your culture toward a more change-friendly environment?

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