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10 Steps to Navigating Change with Your Church Board

Navigating change! Don’t you love it when you suggest change to people and you get the, “I’m really not sure I want to do this” look in their eyes? This can be particularly challenging when you are working with a group of good people serving on the church board.

So how is it we can really get this done? There are actually some simple things you can do to turn a change-resistant board into raving fans of yours and the church, becoming the biggest cheerleaders for you and the changes you propose.

We have identified ten things that need to be in place to have a foundation for building a change culture into your church board.

1. PRAY

If you’ve watched many of the videos we produce here at The Hardy Group you’ll know we frequently invoke this most basic of actions any Christian needs to undertake when embarking on anything bigger than themselves.

Certainly to take on deeply held traditions and a culture of change-resistance at the board level is something bigger than the average pastor can handle. You must pray.

2. COMMUNICATE VISION

Here is the point where you need to put words into action. It cannot be all talk. It has to be true communication where the hearers assimilate all you are saying and it becomes part of them.

Your board members must not only hear but also understand. And then from there they must believe. That will take time.

When communicating change, be clear and simple on your message. Click To Tweet

3. BE CLEAR AND SIMPLE ON YOUR MESSAGE

I see this way too often where a pastor or church leader either tries to communicate too much or is all over the map in what they are trying to communicate. If you are not clear, there is no way the board will be clear.

The same is true on simple. If the message is not abundantly simple, it will get lost in translation. Keep it clear and simple.

4. BRING BOARD MEMBERS ALONG ONE AT A TIME

If you have multiple people around the table driving the change-resistance, then start by helping one board member at a time begin to embrace new things.

This would include one-on-one meetings where you listen and understand where they are at so you can begin to help them understand where you want the church to go.

(NOTE: Want to know the 18 Rules of Engagement for Church Boards? Click here)

18 Rules Blog Image 2

5. TIE CHANGE TO MISSION

First of all you have to make sure board members understand the mission and truly embrace it. Once board members truly believe in and fully embrace the mission of the church, all efforts to build a culture of change must tie to that mission.

6. TELL STORIES OF SUCCESSFUL CHANGE

Do this particularly regarding changes in the lives of people. Board members love to know their actions are driving to someone’s life being changed. Even budget considerations need to be driven by life-change.

Pastors frequently know the stories and often assume everyone in the church does as well, but they normally do not know all the stories the pastor knows. Your job is to shout them from the rooftop.

7. GO FOR THE LOW-HANGING FRUIT

What do I mean by that? Look for some easy changes you can make that underscore your ability to make the right changes, which result in good benefit to many. When the board sees the leader making changes that are successful, they deduce you have good decision-making capacity.

Going for the low-hanging fruit sets you up as a winner, a trait you’ll need when you go for the big change in the church’s future.

8. TALK ABOUT HOW CHANGE IS GAIN

Most people think others are resistant or afraid to change. You may be dealing with board members like this. But here is the reality. Board members are not afraid of change. What they are afraid of is loss.

They think if they change in a certain way they will be losing something that is of high value for them. It is the pastor’s job to assess what that perceived loss is and help the board member to see it as gain.

Change is not loss. Think of change as gain. Click To Tweet

9. COMMUNICATE THE ONLY THING PERMANENT AROUND YOUR CHURCH IS CHANGE

When you talk this way at the board level week-in and week-out, month-in and month-out, board members will begin to believe it and act like it…

… Because it needs to be true for the church to move forward. Establishing a culture of change paves the way for continual improvement in the months and years to come.

10. BE P-A-T-I-E-N-T!

It is not going to happen fast. Shifting a change-resistant board takes time. By definition this is a group that frequently resists change. So you have to apply these thoughts over the long haul. In this case, it is a marathon, not a sprint.

If you genuinely approach change with the church board following these ten steps, you will be well on your way to navigating new things in a way that helps you see the vision the Lord has given you become a reality. The destination makes the journey worthwhile.

We pray you experience effective change and will be able to navigate it in a way that brings honor to the Lord and His vision for the church.

(NOTE: Want to know the 18 Rules of Engagement for Church Boards? Click here)

18 Rules Blog Image 2


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