Hi, my name is Michelle Anthony. Welcome to Family Ministry Conversations. Today’s topic is change, more specifically, how we manage the culture of change in our ministries.

As a leader I get excited about change. I think about all the possibilities and what could be. There’s a certain level of anticipation.

However, many of our volunteers, students, and even parents of students, hear it quite differently. As soon as we say the word “change,” or we talk about anything that is going to morph our ministry, panic ensues.

Those in our ministry start to feel like what they love and what they are attached to is going to be obliterated.

We need to be gracious in how we communicate so that we honor the past as we look forward to the future.

Portrait of happy young woman in kitchen
Image Credit: Oliver Rossi/Stone/Getty Images

Different Perspectives

You can imagine it as the leader. You’re at this height of excitement, while those in your ministry may be experiencing it as a low point. Somebody once described it as the anticipation and excitement of a leader being at a wedding, the climate or culture of a wedding, whereas those who are about to be affected by the change are at a funeral.

It’s quite a different temperature if you can imagine this.

An author described this change management issue from a leader’s perspective as something beautiful. Leaders see it as the beginning of something. Then we’ll have a moment of transition, or a time period where things are sort of influx and in transition, and then we will finally come to the end of our transition or change. The beginning, the middle, and then the end.

However, the volunteer, student, or child in our ministry hear it exactly the opposite. They hear it as the end. This is the end to what they loved or knew. Then there’s a time of influx or transition and they finally come to the place where they’re at the beginning, that they can start afresh.

Honoring Different Paths

I think as leaders it’s good for us to acknowledge that we’re on completely different paths of this storyline. We’re at the beginning, and we hope to come to the end of transition. The people in our ministries are at the end of something.

We need to be concerned about this. We need to be gracious in how we communicate so that we honor the past as we look forward to the future.

I hope these things can be helpful for you. I know they have been for me as I’ve been managing transitions and change in my own ministry culture.