“God is not a man, that he should lie. He is not a human, that he should change his mind.” (Numbers 23:19)
The Word of God is replete with the topic of change. As the above scripture so clearly illustrates, God does not change. We also know that, “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) God’s constancy in all things brings us who believe, the confident assurance that no matter what the circumstance, we are to “cast our cares on Him.” That’s what He’s told us to do. So why must we change? The answer is simple, because God has set our world in a state of constant change. We must keep up and conform so that we can become all He has called us to be.
An excellent way to explain this is to consider some familiar clichés concerning change:
“You can’t step in the same river twice.”
“If you do as you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”
“The depth of your improvement is equally proportionate to the depth of your change.”
You see, in our physical world we must constantly change or risk being left behind. I’m not going to bore you with a laundry list of things that have changed in our lifetime. I’ll leave that to the history channel. I’m sure you can come up with your own list of changes that have occurred in times past. So, if we all sit around a conference table and nod in agreement when someone mentions the need for change, why are we so quick to dig our heels in when the time for action comes?
I’ve heard and you probably have, too, the number one fear in people is public speaking. People fear that more than death. I would like to respectfully un-seat public speaking and replace it with change. People greatly fear change because it forces them out of their comfort zone, especially organizational or workplace change. Can you think of any situations in your own ministry that required change or improvement, but you decided not to, even though you knew you should? If you said yes, you certainly are not alone. Most organizations are guilty of this to some extent.
We’re “creatures of habit.” Our perception of change however; is usually incorrect and there exists a substantial amount of myth surrounding the change needed in ministries today. Here are a few to chew on:
Myth #1: If it “ain’t broke” don’t fix it!
Reality: It still needs fixing! There is ALWAYS a need to improve. We know that God expects and anoints us for excellence in everything we do. Last year’s program needs updating to fit the changes of this year.
Myth #2: Change hurts, or is painful.
Reality: I heard this gem recently and couldn’t wait to use it: “Pain is inevitable, misery is optional!” The reality is, real change, if properly administered should be fun.
Myth #3: Change is a one-time thing.
Reality: Real change is continuing, unfolding.
Myth #4: Change is radical and causes chaos.
Reality: Real change happens in small steps and is an orderly progression.
In my humble opinion, in order for your ministry to become everything God called it to be, you should be in a constant state of change. Now, please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I don’t believe you should stand your ministry on its ear and keep it there. No. What I’m saying is that you should have a yearly, not a 3-5 year, plan and strategy that is focused to achieve results you need for growth. I know that the longer-term plans are en vogue, but trust me when I tell you there’s a mighty difference between a plan and a vision. Both are essential, but decidedly different in nature. Some part of your ministry should be under refinement all year long. After awhile, your ministry evolves into an environment of positive change.
When I interview prospective clients I always begin with this statement: “Your ministry is perfectly designed for the results it’s getting.” I lead the discussion with this because it is thought-provoking. It makes the hearer automatically self-assess. Then, I follow-up with, “Could the results you’re getting right now be better?” The answer in 99.999% of interviews is, “They could always be better!” My next question cuts to the quick. “Do you realize that in order to get better results, there have to be quality changes made to the way you’re doing business?”
I’m sure you catch my drift, here. It’s one thing to sit and hope to be a better ministry for your flock. It’s quite another to accept that change is needed and then step out and become the driving force behind it. That in itself can be a very daunting task. If you’ll recall from earlier articles, I boldly assert that you don’t have to do it alone. There is help…and very good help available to change and achieve results like you have never done before. The ball is in your court.
As the Apostle Paul advised the church in Corinth, “Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Rejoice. Change your ways. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.”