Implementing change in your church

Over the last few weeks there have been a number of amazing pastors’ and leaders’ conferences. Hillsong of course, is one of the best leadership conferences in the world. Also held recently was the International Network of Churches (INC) National Pastors’ Conference.

Here is the question… How does a pastor who has been to a conference, received great teaching, inspiration or a new idea, then return to their church and implement it?

The first thing I would say is that the pastor needs to realise that he/she has been on a journey that most, if not all his/her leaders have not been on. So returning to the church with huge excitement and anticipation that everyone else is going to share in the excitement is unduly optimistic!

It is important for the pastor to take his/her leaders, and then the people, on a journey. My first suggestion would be for the pastor to download the podcasts of the session, distribute to key stakeholders and then ask them to attend a discussion meeting after everyone has listened to the conference session.

Out of this discussion the pastor can then start to draw out of his/her leaders the implications of the ideas or thoughts presented in the session, for the local church. A skilled pastor would be able to harvest possibly even more thoughts and ideas than they originally had as to the implications of the session for their local church.

Key leaders are more likely to be on board if they own the new initiative as their own through a collaborative process, as opposed to having just “been told” the new idea. They can be part of developing a change process.

We are often told that people resist change, which I don’t entirely agree with. Change, rapid change is everywhere in life. Two weeks ago no one had heard of Pokemon Go, and now I have the yellow monsters in my house… apparently. People resist poorly communicated change. People resist change for change sake. People resist dictatorial change. People resist unnecessary change.

So developing collaboratively, a change strategy that includes the communication cascade is essential for successful change to be implemented.

Once that has been developed and the change is being announced publically, I would encourage my leaders to create some buzz about the change. Talk it up, be passionate about it, and make comments on social media!

Pastor Peter Pilt – International Director of Global Care, Missions Director of INC (International Network of Churches) and former Senior Pastor if Nowra City Church.  Peter has a regular blog you can follow here.