One of the most difficult things to navigate in a church is change. In fact if you lead long enough in a church you’ll eventually hear someone say, “But we’ve always done it that way.” That way was someone’s good idea and it may have been the best way at one point. But often times that way becomes a barrier to the best way.
In a church it’s particularly difficult to change methods because every change you make is a criticism of the past. So here are 10 approaches you can take when you’re trying to change the, “We’ve always done it that way,” mindset.
1. Challenge the Statement
Really? Have we really always done it that way? Always is a long time.
2. Listen & Learn
Take time to listen and understand why it is the way it is. Remember it was someone’s good idea at some point. You may learn something.
3. Define Reality
Help people see how that practice has led you where you are, and will keep you where you are unless you change the practice.
4. Cast Vision
Paint a picture of a preferred future and the ground that could be taken if you stop doing it the way you’ve always done it.
5. Celebrate the Past
Highlight and celebrate the good stuff from the past and the fruit that has come from the old practice.
6. Get new People
Everything is new to new people; they don’t know how it’s always been done. Introducing new volunteers to the team and training them on the new way to do things creates a new way of doing things.
7. Model the Desired Behavior
Instead of just telling people what to do, model what you want them to do. It’s always easier to say, “join me,” and lead with moral authority.
8. Build Trust
Change happens at the speed of trust and trust is built through relationship. Take time to build trust by building relationship.
9. Constant Evaluation
Instead of telling, start asking. Build a culture of constant evaluation and improvement. Build a, “we never arrive mentality.”
10. Prove the Practice
Get an early win. Prove that the shift to a new practice is actually better. Get a win and show it in the results.
Sometimes the best way to implement change it to intentionally bring an outside voice to the conversation. You may want to consider having the Unstuck Group help. Take a look at how we can help you move towards a preferred future at your church!
*A special thanks to the Ministry Development Team at Sun Valley Community Church & the conversation that led to this post!