The end of the year is the perfect opportunity to dream about what’s next. Maybe you’re already thinking about changes you’d like to see in your organization in the coming year. So much of the change we’ve experienced lately has been involuntary: we had to adapt our approach to worship, ministry and fellowship in order to survive. Now that we’ve survived, it’s time to prayerfully discern what God has in mind for the future.
Leading change is part art and part science, but it is a core part of a leader’s job. Know that even if you lead change well, you should expect resistance and questions. Various models for leading change explain how the process works in slightly different ways. For example, John Kotter, professor of business emeritus at Harvard Business School, recommends an eight-step process. Kurt Lewin, a leading social and organizational psychologist, envisioned three phases — unfreezing, change, refreezing.
What these and other models have in common is that making change does not start with a plan for action. Leading change effectively starts with understanding where people are. What are their concerns? What are their hopes? What do they think the organization needs? How do people think the changes will affect them personally? And the most important question: why is the change needed?
If leaders do not know the answers to these questions, even the most profound vision is unlikely to achieve the intended results. Without a strategy for discovering where people are and helping them understand why the change is needed, casting a vision for change will only increase resistance. The resources this week are packed with wisdom on how to chart a new course and work together as God does a “new thing” (Isaiah 43:19).
By Aleta Payne
By Nathan Kirkpatrick
By David L. Odom
By Anthony B. Robinson
Before you go…
The heart of the gospel is change, but sometimes our hearts do not feel up for the challenge. So let me leave you with this life-giving word from the book of Joshua.
As God prepared Joshua to lead the Israelites into the biggest change of their lives, the Lord said to Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
Even if you are not certain where you are going, remember that the one who called you will be with you. You can reach me and the Alban Weekly team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next week, keep leading!
Editor, Alban at Duke Divinity