We have to be reminded (by ourselves, an experience, or others) over and over that Jesus is in the business of change: life change. Change your hearts and change your lives (Mt 3:2, Mt 3:8, Mk 6:12, Rev 3:19, Acts 3:19, etc). Stagnation, however, is evidence that change has ceased and one must examine his or her life for the cause of the stagnation. If we look back over an extended period of time and we do not see measurable change, then we can be guaranteed that there is also no growth. Growth requires and is a form of change. Change is also inevitable. Change cannot be stopped. Change is a part of life. After all, April showers bring May showers. Right? No. They bring change. April showers provide for the process of growth. The result of that growth is a beautiful array of vibrant colors. So what’s the big deal about change? I have recently learned that change is many times incorrectly communicated and implemented. Yes, some people hate change (and always will no matter what). But remember, change is inevitable. We experience it one way or another and, as hard as we may try, we can never ever avoid it nor can we stop it.
Knowing that change is inevitable, why not try to lead change in the direction of what you desire? I can deny that my sons will grow up, but that will not stop them from doing so. I can simply hope that my sons will mature and change (grow) into young men who have respect for life and understand how to contribute to society. Or, knowing that they will grow up and change from how I know them now, I can work my tail off trying to lead them through the change they will experience. I do this through praying, teaching, loving, disciplining, and modeling; none of which I do flawlessly.
On Easter Sunday, we witnessed life change at Christ United. A high school student chose to be baptized and make a change for the better in her relationship with Jesus. An elementary school student chose to say yes to Jesus and make a decision that will change not only his earthly life but his eternity forever. Praise God for change. I hope there was change in the lives of others through our celebration that perhaps we did not see, but that we will witness over time. (We also witnessed the mother of a teenager dominate a chocolate-dipped Peeps® eating contest in what I am sure was a new world record.)
When it comes to change, we must be results driven, but the initial focus for leaders must be on properly communicating and implementing the change. The necessary elements according to Brian Zehr are logic, motivation, and path. Put these three together effectively and you minimize the opportunity for people to reject the change.
The results will always define the value of the change or the effectiveness of its implementation. More often than not in an organization, a lack of results is due to having the wrong people in the wrong roles, rather than having the wrong process. The process and the structure are very important and both should be determined prayerfully and wisely with the desired results being the starting point. Determining the process and structure is hard work and requires a lot of time, as well as failure from which we learn.
Yes, some people hate change. I am the opposite. I hate the same. I hate stagnation. I hate typical. I do not like those occasions when people know what to expect and they are right. I strive to see change; life change. I just hope that I learn to get the communication and implementation down so that change can be received and executed as effectively as possible.