Leading Change in the Church - Lesson 4

Coping with Change

In this lesson, the focus is on the impact of change on individuals. Before discussing change strategies, it is crucial to understand what happens within people when change occurs within them or their context. The lesson starts with an exercise where the listeners are asked to think about the most significant change they have experienced in the past ten years and how it made them feel. The purpose of the exercise is to sensitize people to change and its effects. The lesson also explores the dynamics of change and its impact on individuals.

Rick Sessoms
Leading Change in the Church
Lesson 4
Watching Now
Coping with Change

Lesson: Coping with Change

I. Introduction to Change

A. The Need for Change

B. The Cost of Change

C. The Fear of Change

II. The Change Process

A. Preparing for Change

B. Initiating Change

C. Managing Change

D. Sustaining Change

III. The Role of Leaders in Change

A. The Leader as Change Agent

B. The Leader as Visionary

C. The Leader as Communicator

D. The Leader as Advocate

E. The Leader as Champion

F. The Leader as Model

G. The Leader as Steward

IV. Conclusion

  • In Dynamics of Change, the speaker discusses the importance of leading change in the church and emphasizes the need to understand the dynamics of change and its effect on people, as well as the uniqueness of the church in this process, before delving into change strategies.
  • Leadership is about catalyzing change as organizations face an ever-increasing rate of change, requiring strategic leaders who can challenge, mobilize, and motivate people in a rapidly changing cultural climate; change is a function of leadership as it involves fundamentally changing the mind, and progress is impossible without change.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the nature of change, the reasons why it is needed in the church, strategies for overcoming resistance to change, the leader's role in change, and the process of leading change, including creating and communicating a vision for change, implementing and sustaining change, and celebrating success and learning from failure.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the impact of change on individuals through an exercise where you will think about the most significant change you have experienced in the past ten years and how it made you feel. The lesson will sensitize you to the effects of change and explore the dynamics of change and its impact on individuals before discussing change strategies.
  • You will gain insights into the challenges faced by a fictional family company, Johnson's Shoes, based in Boise, Idaho, and the strategies it must employ to overcome these challenges, including diversification of its product line, development of new technology, and introduction of new management techniques, and learn about the positive and negative outcomes of these strategies, and the lessons that can be learned from this case study.
  • Learn how to manage reactions to change in a church setting, understanding the role of the grapevine in communication, and effectively implementing strategies to help others cope, such as consistent messaging, providing details, and supporting healthy behaviors.
  • Gain insights into challenges faced by churches coping with change, including the movement of American culture towards post-Christianity and lack of common values, and explore questions to consider to help churches face 21st-century challenges.
  • This lesson teaches you about the challenges of leading in a chaotic context, the process of change according to Kurt Lewin's theory, and the importance of overcoming resistance. You will understand the limitations of the 20th-century rational change process model and the unique challenges faced by leaders in the 21st century.
  • ou will learn about the characteristics of effective change agents in the church, including humility, patience, sacrifice, self-control, and courage, as well as change management strategies like overcoming resistance to change and sustaining change through embedding change in culture and systems and continuously monitoring and improving.
  • In this lesson, you gain insights on discerning God's purpose in weathering change, learning to ask critical questions to determine if the change is appropriate, and understanding the characteristics of a change that glorifies God, ultimately leading to a stronger church community.
  • You will learn about the various ways that organizations and churches resist change, including through structural and group inertia, power relationships, and resource allocations. You will also understand how people with access to resources tend to resist change, while those without resources are more accepting. The lesson explains how expertise can also play a role in resistance to change, and how churches have natural systems that promote stability.
  • Gain insight into life cycles and resistance to change within organizations, including the church, and how changing leaders can help an organization change the spiral towards decline or irrelevancy by speaking to people's emotions, not just thought.
  • You will learn about creating a guiding coalition to lead the change in the unfreezing stage of change. This involves assembling a group of opinion shapers who can envision the preferred future state and developing them into a team by understanding team skills, defining purpose, roles, and process, and establishing effective leadership and communication.
  • You will learn how to empower broad-based action by removing obstacles to the future and generating short-term wins. This involves identifying structures, policies, and processes that block change, encouraging new ideas and risk-taking, creating a learning environment from failures, aiming for 90% involvement in problem-solving, and providing appropriate authority, resources, information, and accountability. Short-term wins should be planned for, visible improvements should be celebrated, and those involved should be rewarded. Change should be refrozen by consolidating gains, changing policies and structures, promoting and developing people who can implement the vision, reinvigorating the process with new projects, and anchoring new approaches in the church culture.

The dynamics, effects, and strategies for change in the church.

Dr. Rick Sessoms
Leading Change in the Church
Coping with Change
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] Well, I'm just curious. Does this does this stuff work for you? I'm just. Just interested. Very interested. This is not something that usually gets talked about in discussions about leading change in the church, quite frankly. And but but colleague and I have done this in a number of parts of the world have felt that it's so crucial to get a get our arms around what is happening to the people that we're that were working with when when we introduce this change. Is this meaningful? Is it helpful? What what do you think? I'm just curious. And I'm interested if it doesn't work for you, if it's if you're struggling with it, if it's not quite ringing the bell for you. It's always helpful to understand stages that you might get if that's what you're. Yeah. I suppose the emphasis isn't so much that you go through all five stages. I was just sharing that. That, uh, you know, I started a ministry called Freedom to Lead about three years ago, and, uh, I suppose I never went through the denial stage except to say about three months later, I can't believe what I've done to myself. But I did go through that. That issue of the fear and the anger that, uh, that, that I didn't get didn't feel like I was getting a lot of cooperation at first. And then the sadness that just sense, Oh, no, I'm stuck, you know, kind of thing. And then there was renewal and, and those cycles do continue, but, but it's not really about going through every, you know, lock step, every stage is just is just trying to get a sensitizing to the fact that that there is something that dies within us and in order for something to be reborn.

[00:01:58] And that's a traumatic experience for us. I just think it's good to be reminded that because I am not it in touch with the negative side of change very much and my experience is always on the other end of it. And I am naturally climate change and often I like to change things in my own life, but then in sort of a work environment, that sort of thing. And so when I am to change, I do get frustrated with a lot of people who are dragging their feet. And, you know, I have a big problem with it. So that's that's a you know, I'm often not sensitive enough to the impacts of change on people. And so that's a it's good to. To get more. I appreciate you sharing that. I think as I've gotten older, I've gotten more sensitive to the impact change on me. I don't I don't like change as much as I used to. I don't like somebody mowing my my footstool or us, you know, watch television at night. So maybe it's something they were getting old. I don't know. Was that you go through denial. That's right. Really deny confusing if somebody moves my footstool. Sure. Yeah. Well, there are some ways that we can cope with with all this harassment that's going on inside of us when we go through change. One thing we can do is we can talk with someone about it. It is always helpful to share what we're feeling and what we're going through. When we're dealing with change, getting exercise to get out and and get get the juices flowing is something that helps me to deal with the stresses of disruption in my life. Write down your thoughts and feelings. Journal. I'd spend some time capturing what you're going through, not just that you've come out the other side, but the actual process that you're going through.

[00:04:09] During that death and dying process of change. Give yourself time to recover. I mean, give yourself some space, for crying out loud. It's it's if change is significant enough, it's positive change. It does introduce some stressors into your life and your being that aren't easily just dismissed. And so take time to recover. Give yourself give yourself a break and then communicate in healthy ways as best you can. Own your feelings. If you if you're sad on the fact that you're sad or if you're mad on the fact that you're mad. If you're frustrated, you're happier related, whatever. Communicate in ways that you're taking responsibility for your feelings, but you can also communicate that this is what I believe are causing those feelings within me. And I think that's that's a very healthy way of communicating. We'll get into communication when we deal with peacemaking, but we'll just leave that and get help if you need it. Sometimes that can come through a companion. Other times it may be going to somebody that's a bit more capable of dealing with, with these kinds of processes in people's lives or get that kind of help. Are there other strategies that you can that that have worked for you in the past as you're going through changes, particularly as something significant and the stressors take place? What what works for you getting through those times? I still think you have to ask why. So prayer and reflection. Yeah. Very good. Others. I find that I have to stay involved in my retreat too much. Some of the negative things about change here seem to compare. Have you ever heard of ignoring the change in mindset that staying involved in relationships or. Or the process is very wise, very wise.

[00:06:31] So so don't withdraw. But main mistake saying stay engaged and connected. Is that what you mean? You can adjust how you're being engaged and connected somehow. Another. You know. I think it's also sometimes helpful when you're under a lot of stress to lighten the load and to strategically choose nonessential responsibilities that can be either jettisoned or have food and give yourself permission to let go of some stuff. Start doing some stuff that may not be as critical as what you thought it was. Good suggestions, good strategies.


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