Change is inevitable. Whether your church seems to change on a daily basis or your church hasn’t seemed to change in years, it WILL happen eventually. I have worked for a lot of different bosses and I have seen some handle change well and some crash and burn. The biggest difference I have noticed between the two is communication. Communication is everything. If you do that well, you are paving the way towards a smoother transition. Here are the two big components of communicating:
Explain. Talk to your team. If you ever have the choice between announcing big change over email or in a meeting, always choose a meeting. Your team wants to hear from your mouth what is happening. When people don’t know the “why” behind your choice, you leave them to come up with their own story of how you came to your decision. That can be incredibly dangerous. Explain your logic and heart as clearly as possible. Know that you explaining isn’t you seeking their approval. Sometimes you are going to make a tough call that might not be popular for everyone and no matter what speech you give, you might not be able to change their opinion.
Listen. Sometimes this piece is forgotten in the communication process. If you want your team to be on board with you, they need to know that you respect them. If they don’t feel like you value their opinion, that respect piece can be hard to keep. Your team wants to feel heard and they want to feel understood. By no means does that mean that you have to take every suggestion, but take the time to make sure you do this step justice. About a year ago, our my boss thinking about making a huge change in our student ministries team. We had a big meeting about it where our team gave our concerns and advice on what we thought about it. Some of what we said he took and some he left behind, but that didn’t matter much because we felt heard. We felt respected and were all on board with him.