My Ministry Setting Is Resistant To Change.

Your Question:

“How can I best serve in a ministry setting that resists change?”

The Issues:

There are some people who view change as a disruption of “normal.” “Normal” brings security to some.  There is nothing wrong with “normal,” if the ministry is effective and growing. If there are improvements that could be made, how they are made is usually the issue. The more resistant to change the leadership is, the smaller the adjustments should be.

Scripture Foundation:

“No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will tear the new garment as well, and the patch from the new will not match the old.And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will spill, and the wineskins will be ruined. Instead, new wine is poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’ ”  Luke 5:36-39

Short Answer:

If you sense that there is resistance to change within the church or organization, ask God to help you discern from whom that resistance comes, and for what reason. Here are some possible sources and reasons for the resistance: 


1) The general population – Was there something that happened recently (within 2 years) that has made the people cautious about “new ideas” or change? If you can discover that source, you can be very careful to avoid similar issues. “Selling” the change becomes a significant step in the preparations for change. Meet individually with a few of the significant people (not employees) of the church to discuss the possible change. Listen to their views and suggestions. Highlight the positive effect that the change will have on the CM and the entire church. Create a “task force” of people from within the church to participate in the planning and execution of the change will help greatly.


2) The church leadership – Meet with those who are the most resistant to change. Listen to them as they tell you the stories that fuel their resistance. If their stories involve a lack of communication or preparation (no leader likes “surprises”!), discuss ways to make some minor changes that would be comfortable for them.  Make sure to highlight the positive results of the change. How will this change improve the children’s ministry (CM) and the entire church?  How will the change better support their ministry?  How will the change attract, or keep, more church attendees? You might suggest making a very small, “insignificant” change as a test for the process that would be comfortable for him/her.


No matter what the “cause” or “source” of the resistance is, it is vital that you pray and work hard to not “feed into” that fear or resistance. Understanding people is one of the basic requirements for ministry!  Jesus was a master at this.  He gave us excellent examples of how to deal with possibly “resistant” people.  His kind, gentle understanding of people like Zaccheus, the Samaritan woman at the well, Levi (Matthew), Peter, and so many others shows us that listening is vital for understanding and dealing with resistant people. The more you ask questions and listen to the answers the greater you will understand the resistance.  Once you understand the resistance, you can slowly earn the trust to make small adjustments in the ministry. Make sure to involve those who are resistant to change in the slow and careful process. If the change is successful, help everyone see the positive results.  Never take advantage of the trust that you earn! Always ask God to help you make changes slowly and carefully!


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