Communicate Change Using the Power of Momentum

It is hard to overstate the importance of communication when unveiling a new initiative or introducing change. The communication of a change is as critical as the strategic thinking behind the change. The communication of a new initiative is often as important as the initiative itself. A leadership team may have an incredible strategy, but if the communication is poor, the strategy will not be embraced. Leaders who communicate well have prepared the new initiative for momentum, while those who communicate poorly doom it to failure or a slow start.

When communicating major change or a new initiative, it is wise to communicate in waves to multiple groups of people. While the nomenclature of the different levels of leadership varies from context to context, there are typically layers of leadership in every context.

  • Start with a small group of decision makers, a core of strategic leaders who have a view of and burden for the entire organization/ministry.
  • Then communicate to the next level of leaders, often leaders of leaders, and set the pace for the entire organization/ministry.
  • Then communicate again to those leaders who serve/work to make the organization/ministry what she is.
  • Finally, communicate to the whole organization/ministry.

The communication plan can be illustrated like this:

Communicating Change

While the steps can be reduced or expanded, depending on the size of the organization or ministry, communicating in waves produces two big benefits:

 1. The message is refined.

By communicating the same message to different groups of people, the communicators are able to refine the message and the delivery of the message. They learn the questions, the struggles, and the points of excitement. They are able to listen to feedback, adjust the message, and communicate again. By the time the communication is delivered to the entire organization, those who communicate the direction have tested the language and the clarity with multiple groups of people.

 2. Ownership is expanded.

Initiatives and change efforts often fail because too few people own them. When communication occurs in waves, people are invited to “own the direction.” Leaders often bemoan low amounts “vision buy-in” among the people they lead. If the direction is sound, a lack of “buy-in” is either a credibility or a communication problem. To secure “buy-in” across multiple groups of people, leaders are wise to communicate in waves, to listen, and to ask questions. To hit the bullseye on buy-in, you will need to communicate multiple times to multiple groups. If the communication is strategic, by the time the whole organization hears of the direction, ownership has been expanded.

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Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
— Debra
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
— Laurie
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)

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