Think of what too often accompanies change in the Church — self-centeredness, self-ambition, arrogance / pride, disunity. These are the opposite of what God exhorts us to display toward one another in Philippians 2:1-4 — “being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
So, what is going wrong with the way we manage change? Read on in Philippians 2 and we find the answer. We are to “have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus” (NASB). The problem with change in the Church too often stems from people who are not exhibiting Christ-like attitudes … whether that be church leaders and/or others within the congregation.
Don’t expect people to embrace change if we don’t approach it with Christ-like attitudes.
The attitude of Christ is one of humility and servanthood (Phil. 2:5-8). He did not use His position as God Himself to force His ways on people. He exercised both grace and truth in dealing with people (Jn. 1:14, 17).
Who are we to force change on people without seeking their participation in the process, not even listening to their concerns like as they we know everything and they have nothing to offer? Jesus viewed such a heavy-handed approach to leadership as worldly, likening it to how “the Gentiles lord it over” people (Mk. 10:42-45). To that Jesus says, “Not so with you.” Why? “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Church Leaders Managing Change with Christ-like Attitudes will Do the Following:
- You will take people into consideration when making changes, remembering that you are there to serve people, not merely improve programs.
- You will work together with people to discern God’s will so you have greater potential for being “of one mind.”
- You will help people embrace change, not force it on them, remembering that it isn’t about advancing your agenda or cause but of following God’s desires and will for you.
- You will exercise grace toward those who have a difficult time accepting change, not getting haughty or defensive with them.