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Fixing the Vending Machine: Embracing Change and Growth in Your Congregation 2012 District Assembly March 23-24, 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Fixing the Vending Machine: Embracing Change and Growth in Your Congregation 2012 District Assembly March 23-24, 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Fixing the Vending Machine: Embracing Change and Growth in Your Congregation 2012 District Assembly March 23-24, 2012

2 Some quotes to get us started… Things do not change, we change. Henry David Thoreau All is flux; nothing stays still. Heraclitus It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear…It’s like being between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold on to. Marilyn Ferguson Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

3 The more you change, the more you become an instrument of change in the lives of others. If you want to become a change agent, you also must change. Howard Hendricks Teaching to Change Lives

4 So…what’s so good about change? What are the benefits? And…what’s so bad about change? What are the liabilities/cautions?

5 Society’s Changing Attitude Toward Religion Shift from an intellectual to an experiential approach to faith Fewer people staying with their religion of birth and more people shopping for a new faith Movement from local neighborhood membership to regional membership Authority and governance shifting from vertical (top- down) to horizontal (networks, teams, councils) Greater competition for members among congregations Loyalty to an institution is being replaced by participation in meaningful groups or networks Lyle Schaller

6 So what’s happening in your congregation? What are some of the changes that your membership is going through right now or has recently gone through?

7 A Checklist for Change Yes No Will this change benefit the congregation? Is it compatible with the mission? Is it specific and clear? Is it possible to test it before committing? Are physical, financial and human resources available? Is it reversible? Is it the next obvious step? Does it short and long range benefits? Are the leaders capable of making it work? Is the timing right? Adapted from Developing the Leader Within You by John Maxwell

8 Oh, give me a homeostasis where the buffalo roam… All systems seek a well-ordered status. If a congregation is thrown out of balance by the prospect of change, members will seek to restore order and sameness. Change creates anxiety and the anxious person will seek to reinstate equilibrium through blaming, gossiping, keeping secrets, diagnosing and insisting on one’s own way.

9 Some great reasons to resist change The change is not self-initiated (It wasn’t my idea.) Change creates fear of the unknown (What is this going to mean for me?) The purpose of the change is unclear. (Why are we doing this?) Change can result in temporary failure. (How will this affect my status or competence in the congregation?)

10 More great reasons to resist change The rewards for change don’t match the effort that the change requires. (What is the benefit of doing this?) Some people just like to be negative. (Everything they do around here is wrong) Change requires additional commitment. (You mean I have to do more work?) Tradition resists change. (We’ve always done it this way. Why do we have to change?)

11 Late Adopters 20% Middle Adopters 60% Laggards 8% Early Adopters 10% Innovators 2%


13 Lessons Learned When dealing with group conflict related to change and growth…  We need to keep our emotions in check and look at issues with reason and logic.  We need to listen to each other in order to reduce ambiguity and test our assumptions.  We need to remember that we may not have all the answers and that most issues are not “cut and dry”.  We need to believe that conflict can lead to understanding and creativity if members of the congregation are encouraged to look at problems from many points of view.

14 Ideas for Promoting Positive Change (in the congregation and in yourself) Enlist your minister in leading the congregation in imagining a positive and hopeful future Avoid avoiding conflict. Congregations that avoid conflict generally avoid changing. To ensure greater success for change, enlist the most motivated people. Include everyone in the change process, especially those who might resist the change more. Ensure that the ones leading the change are open and honest with members of the congregation. Transparency should be the watchword.

15 Even more ideas… Understand that resistance is natural. Leaders should focus on the change outcome rather than trying to change people’s reaction to the change. Stay positive. Reframe negative statements into positive ones and talk about the benefits of the change. Find ways to measure your progress along the way and once the change is effected. Celebrate. Take time as a congregation to acknowledge the work of those making the change happen and the successes that are being realized as a result of that work.

16 It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power. Alan Cohen

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