The owner of a manufacturing company had a policy of recognizing employees on their first anniversary. He would walk into the plant, give a short speech, and then present to the employee a gift, the company's logo on a sterling-silver tie tack. He presented the gift in a velvet box with much fanfare. One day, he was making such a presentation to one of his employees who had completed his first year. The young man opened the box, took out this beautiful silver tie tack, and said to his boss, "Cool!" Then he calmly inserted it into the lobe of his ear!
What a graphic picture of our day! Things are changing everywhere. Lyle Schaller says the number one issue facing institutions in America today is the need to initiate and implement planned change from within the organization. In other words, we cannot just accept change and respond to it. We must manage change Managing change is one of the key issues facing leadership in churches today. How can we not only face this change and accept this change but also MANAGE this change?


Two options are often taken by Christian leaders in the church. Some people resist change unequivocally. They equate new with bad and old with good. They are guilty of "gerontolatry," the perpetuation of the old. They are committed to old methods that no longer work and old truths that no longer apply and old patterns that are no longer necessary, simply because they are convinced what is old is superior to what is new. On the other hand, some accept change indiscriminately. They equate old with bad and new with good. They are guilty of "neolatry," the worship of the new. They reject old treasures that are still of monumental value, old people who still have exceptional wisdom, and old methods that still produce superb results, simply because they are convinced what is new is superior to what is old.
Neither gerontolatry nor neolatry are acceptable options for the Christian. Leaders in today's churches must not be controlled either by an unswerving commitment to the old or by an unquestioned obsession with the new. Rather, we must follow a balanced approach that is neither ashamed of old truth nor afraid of new truth.The key to good leadership is to discern when and how to change.
Carl Sewell, a successful automobile dealer, in his book Customers for Life, made a list of questions he asked before implementing any change. Let me paraphrase them as they are applicable to the church.


Question 1: What is the benefit to our congregation?
Question 2: Will the members of the congregation easily understand the benefit?
Question 3: How will it affect our existing ministries?
Question 4: Is anyone else doing it successfully? What can we learn from them?
Question 5: What could go wrong?
Question 6: When should we evaluate it?

Before implementing change, we need to analyze the need for change. That is the first step.

The second step next month.