Our church is going through a lot of changes. Not necessarily bad changes, but changes none the less. We have had some staff turnover. Some leaders are in new positions. We are hiring new people to new positions. We have some new programs and some new ways of doing programs. All of that change brings new challenges. Then there is growth. Growth brings change. New people in the church brings change. New relationships bring new changes. And when we think that there could be no more changes, we find that God has other ideas. Change is inevitable … and today change seems to be constant – everywhere we turn. I was considering all the change around me the other day and jotted a few thoughts into my journal and then shared some of them with the support team at Crossroads. In brief:
In the midst of change it is imperative to remember that God never changes – Jesus is the same today, yesterday, and forever (Heb. 13:8). God uses change to develop our character – hopefully through our cooperation.
- Paul indicates that he learned contentment as his circumstances changed, and discovered that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him – even go through changes (Phil. 4:10-13).
- We learn to trust God deeply in times of change – especially when we know things are changing but don’t fully understand what will result.
- Change tends to expose our weaknesses, our fears, our insecurities, our lack of trust, our vulnerabilities. This is a good thing because we tend to gloss over them or try to hide them, stunting our spiritual growth in many cases.
- We learn to be peaceful as we are forced to depend upon God when we are pushed away from the stability we tend to prize. We cast our anxieties on him, our cares and worries on Jesus, knowing that he cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7)
- Change helps us see the depths of our sinfulness as we try to make things work the way we want.
Some things I’ve discovered while going through change:
- Making myself the focal point of pain in the midst of change is not productive. It is usually (always) selfish and “off-putting” to others.
- Guard your heart in the midst of it all. Every change impacts people. Some you will like, some you won’t. Take care that you don’t get angry or bitter with “what is being done to you.”
- God, who doesn’t change, will be in the midst of the process – even if you think the change is wrong-headed, unfair, stupid, or bad.
- Work to make the changes work as best you can. It rarely serves any good purpose to try to undermine it.
- Don’t become Euodia or Syntche … griping with others about changes.
- Don’t exploit vulnerabilities in others, or in the organization, for your own personal gain. When change happens selfishness and self-centeredness so easily comes to the surface.
- If change involves new people coming on a team (in our case our staff), don’t blame them for the changes.
- Prayer is important. Pray a lot … even about the smallest changes and their impact on you and others.