I was talking with a young pastor recently. He is battling the leadership of the church to make changes he feels he was called to the church to make, but because they have experienced some difficult years recently, they are resisting any efforts he makes. He’s questioning if he should give into them or push forward with more changes.
Of course, the way change is introduced is incredibly important, but after years of decline, change is certainly needed if they expect to see any new growth. As the saying goes, “More of the same will not produce change.”
It reminded me, however, of some common characteristics I have observed in organizations, whether the church or in business, when growth begins to slow or future progress appears to be in question. In uncertain times, probably because both the church and businesses involve people, each has a tendency to react similarly.
During times of difficulty, organizations:
- Resist taking risks
- Avoid change
- Cling to tradition
- Think inward
- Control everything
- Become selfish
Granted, I’ve been in both sides of the equation. I’ve been in the times of fast growth and the times of steady (even rapid) decline. I’ve even contributed to each of these reactions at one time or another. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen them work. They feel needed, even more comfortable for a time, but they fail to produce that for which they were intended.
In my experience, these are the exact opposite reactions that spur growth and progress.
Here is why I’m writing this post:
If you are in a time of decline, perhaps it’s time to think differently than your natural, even understandable emotions would lead you to act.
Perhaps you need to:
- Take new risks
- Embrace change
- Hold tradition loosely
- Think outward
- Empower others
- Become generous
To the church leader, I would say this: Walk by faith. Keep walking by faith. I know it is natural to react in fear and hold on to what you can easily understand when circumstances become difficult…I’ve been there…but if you want to grow again…you’ll have to walk by faith again.
Have you seen an organization react this way in times of decline?
Read more from Ron here.