Dr. Jeff Iorg, an author, teacher, and president of Gateway Seminary, has recently come out with a new book called Leading Major Change in Your Ministry. Below are some insightful truths found in the book.
1. God has an amazing capacity to use leaders in their present situation, while at the same time using that present situation to train them for future ministry challenges.
2. While meeting every need is impossible, showing concern and caring for someone in need is almost always possible.
3. The final question to answer when diagnosing the need for major change — “Am I willing to see the change to completion?” — is a gut-check for every leader. Major change takes time, often years, to plan, execute and fully implement. The difficult part of major change is not the dreaming or launch phase; it is the completion phase.
4. Some leaders feel any opposition, such as asking questions about costs or timetables, is evidence of disobedience to God. It may, instead, be a natural part of processing the change.
5. Some leaders mistakenly think a longer presentation always carries more weight. This is not necessarily true. Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address — only 272 words — is still more powerful today than most political speeches. Shorter can be better than longer.
6. For the good of the whole, there are times when a leader has to make the difficult choice of separating someone from their church or ministry when their opposition impedes the organization’s mission. Courageous leaders are willing to make those tough decisions and live with the painful consequences.
7. To ensure risks are considered carefully, major change mandates a thorough planning process. Winging it is not sufficient. Trusting God should be part of a strategic plan, not its sum total. Hope is not a strategy.
8. When people are going through change, they crave certain things from their leaders, such as clear communication, resources to help them accomplish the change, and recognition of the sacrifices they are making for the mission.
9. Conflict among leaders trying to decide about a major change can be a healthy part of the process when it produces honest debate. As long as the debate remains focused on core issues, it will lead to greater insight and unity about the final decision.
10. Another common mistake is addressing conflict in a public forum, like preaching about it or discussing it in a hallway conversation. If a conflict needs to be addressed with a person or a group, meet with them directly and intentionally.
In summary, focus on the ultimate objective. With that end in view, major change becomes a joyful, obedient step in the right direction on the adventure of doing ministry in the 21st century.