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How to Manage Change in Your Ministry

Navigating change is challenging. Learn to honor what was as you look forward to the future in this Family Ministry Conversation video.
2 min read

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.

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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.

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Mobile lead volunteers through ministry now
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  Updated on March 4, 2022

About the Author

Post Author
  • Dr. Michelle Anthony is the Pastor of Children and Parents at New Life Church. She is the author of Spiritual Parenting, The Big God Story, Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family, and 7 Family Ministry Essentials. Michelle has over 25 years of church ministry and leadership experience in children’s and family ministries and graduate degrees in Christian Education, Bible and Theology from Talbot School of Theology and Southern Seminary. In her free time, Michelle enjoys being with her family, reading a good book, and being at the beach while drinking a strong cup of coffee.

  • Your Ministry Spark Team is made of ministry volunteers, leaders, and experts who work with David C Cook. We’re passionate about helping others know, love, and follow Jesus. And, we have a big heart for those who serve the kingdom—that’s you. Together, we can do this!

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