After analyzing the
need for change and recognizing the barriers to change, we know
what needs to be done and what stands in the way. Yet another
key question has to be answered: “How will we bring about
How we do something is as important as what we do. Unless we facilitate
change in such a way that we bring the people with us, we will
face what one man calls “the kiss of yes.” That is,
our people will smile and nod and agree with everything we say
– and then behave as they always have, sabotaging the new
plan. So how do we bring about change?
Step # 3: WE NEED TOFOLLOW THE PROPER
The proper procedure for implementing change in the church usually
includes four specific actions.
Action Number One: The recognition of a need
to change. Change will not be implemented unless there is a substantial
degree of discontent with the status quo. We can bring this discontent
to the surface in a variety of ways: by having a special study
group in the church, by individual discussions with key leaders,
by taking a group of our leaders to a church that has already
successfully done what needs to be done in our church, or by developing
a support group of new leaders who see the need for change.
Action Number Two: The development of a plan
for change. A group needs to be formed that will develop a specific
course of action to bring about the change. Lyle Schaller explains
that ad hoc committees are usually more effective in implementing
change than standing committees because ad hoc committees are
limited by time and that tends to move them to action, and because
standing committees have other items on their agenda.
Action Number Three: The enlistment of a support
group for the proposed change. This can be done with open forums,
with the presentation of materials explaining the change, or by
the enlistment of key leaders who will personally approach individuals
who seem to oppose the change. This enlistment of a support group
is the most difficult but the most crucial step in implementing
Action Number Four: The approval of the change.
Officially, this is done by the congregation for major changes.
Actually, minor changes are often approved in practice by smaller
groups within the congregation. When enough of these minor changes
have received approval of enough of the smaller groups within
the church, a change will be implemented before and in some cases
without official approval of the congregation.
It is not enough just to know what needs to be done. We must also
follow the proper procedure, for how we do it is as important
as what we do.
Implementing change is never easy, but it is essential in today's
world, for as Lyle Schaller put it: the number one issue facing
institutions in America today is the need to initiate and implement