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Navigating Change

Some people love change, some hate it, and both tribes are part of your church.


So how do you keep everyone happy?

What ultimately won’t work is scheduling a stack of designer church services. It’s a slippery slope and you may end up here:

  •  8:00: Very Traditional (only the King James version of the bible)
  •  9:00: Traditional (just what you’d expect)
  • 10:00: Contemporary (pretty much the same as 9:00 a.m. but with pipe organ  muted and guitars plugged in. Rock on!)
  • 11:00: Loosey-Goosey (by now Pastor’s exhausted and pretty much wings it)
  •  12:00: Buffet Testimony Time (bring a hot dish to pass)

The problem: before long your church has been neatly segmented into a series of small groups, each feeling like a separate congregation.

Consider these three quick ways to scratch the itch of change-lovers without sending fans of tradition into coronary arrest:

1. Offer a Q & A

Shave 5 minutes from your sermon time, step out from behind the pulpit, and invite unfiltered questions…or comments. Risky? Yes. Revealing and memorable? Absolutely.

And if there are no questions, what might that tell you?

2. Play With Visuals

One Cincinnati church transformed its worship space by draping several bolts of cloth down from an eye-bolt secured in the sanctuary ceiling. Small fans billowed the cloth gently, creating a dance of color and movement behind the pastor.

The result: temporary, dramatic change that cost little.

3. Musical Chairs

Ask congregants, once they’re seated, to stand up, move at least 20 feet from where they were, and take a new seat—among new people.

They’ll see the service from a new vantage point. And extra credit if you ask them to turn to someone seated nearby and discuss—for just a few minutes—how what they just experienced is like what Jesus asks of them in life.

Change doesn’t have to be expensive or frightening—and switching things up keeps Sunday morning interesting.

By the way, if you’re wanting deeper insights into navigating change in your congregation, check out Leading Change in Group’s Practical Stuff for Pastors series. Good stuff, good price, and great results.

One thought on “Navigating Change

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    Thank you for your post regarding navigating change. As I am an ecclectic person I am often mystified as to why folks can’t find a middle ground scenario that keeps most people engaged. Musically, I have had to find middle ground in many worship contexts. I think getting worship to be participation focused with the Q&A and moving to a different location is priceless. Thank you for your ideas.

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Navigating Change

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