When Churches Need to Make Changes

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Life comes with change.  Church-life sometimes needs change too. Without change church-life will stagnate. Church history knew chapters of heartening growth but they never came without change. The great Sixteenth Century Reformation came with staggering change. Change is universal “You cannot step into the same river twice” (Heraclitus).

Change is not always comfortable. “Progress is a good word but change is its motivator and change has its enemies” (Robert Kennedy). “Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better” (Richard Hooker). Change for the sake of change is bad. Opposing all change is bad too.

Some things to keep in mind.

Change requires careful observation and preparation. To what extent is the proposed change necessary?  What will be the benefits envisioned? Does your church have the resources to effect the change? Do you have the leadership to guide your church through change? Is the proposed change in keeping with the Word of God and the confessions of the church? Has the congregation been consulted and from then on been kept informed?

Once you have agreed on a certain program that necessitates the change, have you, as a Council, consistently backed the members who have been put in charge of it? Be sure that you as a Council are being kept informed as plans for change are being worked out. When opposition arises, you have to be the point-people for the defense. Individual office-bearers who were initially against the proposed change, must change opposition to cooperation. Assure the congregation that the old foundation has not crumbled. Don’t backpedal under pressure.

In the face of responsible change, make sure that the overall ministry program remains balanced. If you agree to introduce a new type of music, assure the congregation that seasoned hymnody remains precious to you too. When you propose a new program for the youth of the congregation, see whether you can make improvements in the ministry to the elderly or highlight its importance. 

Remember, in general, that you need to report regularly on the various congregational programs. Always be prepared to make necessary corrections. The overall ministry of your church deserves a prominent place in the congregational prayers.

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