4 ESSENTIAL STEPS TO LEADING PEOPLE THROUGH CHANGE
How do we lead our congregations through seasons of change?
While many of us say we welcome it, we know that it can also be incredibly challenging. We all have changes in our lives – and some changes seem to cost us everything while other changes seem to cost us very little.
But one of the things that we must recognize through all the seasons of our lives is that change, and the growth that usually accompanies it, is good.
1. Keep The Change
2. Create Familiar Anchors
3. Allow For Emotional Process
4. Communicate Rest & Trust
STEP 1 – KEEP THE CHANGE
Keep the change.
“Keep the change” means taking ahold of the change that is happening in us and around us, and deciding to roll with it rather than resist it.
Change can be very unsettling and disquieting for a community, even if that unsettledness is not overtly expressed.
According to psychologists, any change, no matter how small, creates some level of internal demand that impacts people’s thinking, emotions, feelings, and even physical body.
We want to teach our community to keep the change, even when it’s unsettling. And, although change will inevitably come even if we try to resist it, we ideally want to steward and encourage people through change by viewing it in a positive and intentional way.
In other words, we want to strengthen our congregation through the change to see them come out the other side stronger and better. So, be aware of how you’re managing change.
STEP 2 – CREATE FAMILIAR ANCHORS
Create familiar anchors.
As a worship leader, we want to create familiar spaces for people. Change should be approached in as gradual a way as possible.
Your congregation may be moving to a new location, a pastor has left, or something has gone on that’s disrupted the flow of the community.
Maybe someone important to the church has died. Creating familiar anchors means singing the same songs that have always helped that church to to rise with, enjoy, and confide in God again.
Create anchor points within your service.
Do things the same way you’ve always done them. Creating a sense of “normal” using pieces of your life together to reinforce stability can remind the church that everything is going to be okay, and can ground them to the realization that not everything is changing all at once.
STEP 3 – ALLOW FOR EMOTIONAL PROCESS
Allow for emotional process.
People go through a wide range of emotions during seasons of change. Even if we’re not experiencing those same emotions yourself, give your congregation space to process what’s going on.
Ask your members how they’re feeling about the transition, and encourage honest, two-way communication.
Once you open yourself up to letting the community process on their own terms, it can really put the congregation at ease. You’ll find that many of the people who struggled the most at first may become your greatest champions as time goes on.
STEP 4 – COMMUNICATE REST & TRUST
Communicate rest and trust.
If you are clearly trusting God in the midst of change, and showing that you have peace about the transition, the congregation will feel this stability.
It is comforting to see consistency and peace in a leader when everything else is changing. That alone will give many a sense of safety along the way.
Communicate to the community that you are wholly trusting in God, and at rest in knowing that his Highest purpose is being fulfilled for your community through this season of change.
ACTION STEPS / SUMMARY
Although change can be unsettling for a congregation, it is necessary for the church to grow and evolve.
While some changes may be tough to navigate, creating anchors keeps the community stay grounded through uncertain times.
Giving space for people to process emotionally will allow the congregation to feel heard and listened to throughout the season of transition, and having a leader who communicates peace through tough times will always encourage people to grow in the midst of change.
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