The wise ones have said, "The only constant in life is change."
Except in the church.
And yet, in order for the church to survive and thrive in the 21st century, change is necessary.
How do you do it? New programs and systems? A new mission statement? A renewed vision for the future? All are important. However, the bottom line is this, change begins with the pastor.
"The pastor," says Patrick Keifert, "establishes the emotional field in which change takes place. Create an emotional space where high levels of conflict and change can take place."
In other words, conflict is not bad and to be avoided. Conflict is fertile ground out of which innovation and change grows. The capacity for a pastor to maintain a confident, non-anxious presence in the midst of conflict will determine the amount of change that will take place.
Certainly a clear vision for the future is necessary for the future of any congregation, but unless a pastor takes the first step and maintains a non-anxious, confident, and connected presence with others who are anxious in the midst of change, the congregation will maintain the status quo.
Strengthen your presence as a leader and the congregation will change accordingly.