What’s in this Episode?
There’s nothing worse than having vision to make some sort of change in the church, only to have it stopped because you can’t get some people on board. That’s why it’s so important to get buy in before you make the change. So in this episode, we’re going to help you with nine steps that you can take to help people buy in and embrace the changes your church needs to make.
Read the Transcript
Dick Hardy 0:25
I remember a few years back, I was working with a church over in Oklahoma, and we were going through their bylaws. So we were going to revise their bylaws start to finish. It was a church that was probably 80 or 90 years old and the bylaws needed to be updated. I mean, they were pretty dusty. And so we go through the whole process and, and rightly, the pastor and leaders of the church decide they’re going to pull people together to be able to ask questions about the bylaw changes. And you know, how many people are interested in the bylaws? You know, but the old timers are interested. And I will tell you, there was one guy who was really interested. His name was Dale. I need to tell you after we explained everything, Dale came unglued, he came into attack mode. And he was not buying this change thing that we were talking about. So the whole issue is, how do you help a guy like Dale gain buy in to what you’re doing at the church, it was a big challenge for that church. They made it through. But we want to talk to you today about some steps that you can take as a leader as the pastor to help your people buy into change when change is necessary. So Jonathan, get us a jumpstart?
Step #1: Pray In Advance
Jonathan Hardy 1:32
Yeah. So we’re going to cover actually nine steps to help people get this buy in, but right off the gate, first one is simply this, you need to pray in advance. So before you’re going to make a change, you have to pray. And sometimes while we know that to be true, I don’t think we always do it. I mean, it’s just like, you know, we’re rolling. We’re just moving and we’re like, oh, yeah, let’s make this change and know that we got to spend some time. This may include fasting. This certainly includes time before the Lord, praying and just reflecting on the change and asking him to give you wisdom and for him to help you as you’re processing it, because sometimes God will give people clarity and wisdom and thought and they may even change the approach, the direction they were going to go once they started praying and seeking God’s clarity and so you have to go to the Lord first way before you’re going to start proposing changes to anyone. So that’s the first thing right out of the gate.
Step #2: Identify the Gain
Dick Hardy 2:29
The second thing I want to note to us is that you want to use this term: change is gain. Here’s what happens with change, most the time people really aren’t opposed to change. What happens when you start talking about change, is people begin to fear loss. A simple kind of goofy illustration, oh, we’re going to change the music of the church to become more contemporary. Well, it isn’t necessarily that the people are against the contemporary, but they fear losing their old songs, the songs, they’re familiar with, the songs that they got saved when they got saved, they remember those songs. So your role as a leader is to help people see that change is not loss. Change is gain. When you can help couch things as change is gain, you’re going to be way down the road to be able to help people gain by in.
Step #3: Take Your Time
Dick Hardy 3:25
The other thing I wanted to mention to you is, don’t rush. Now, the tip tends to be the younger you are, the quicker you want to make these changes. The older you get, you tend to be a little more methodical and I’m not giving you that advice as a guy who’s got the gray hair, I’m giving you that advice having watched over these 40 some years, where, when you rush into change, you really set yourself up to make mistakes, and you want to be careful with that. In fact, honestly, I tell pastors when they’re talking about change is you talk publicly about change, first time you do it, and then don’t change anything. Because as soon as you talk about change, people are going “gasp.” Relax, let people catch a deep breath and don’t rush. You do have to be methodical and you do have to get to the end result. You do have to make the change, but do it in a timely manner.
Jonathan Hardy 4:23
Yeah, yeah. I love that. Because you’re telling people upfront, hey, we’re going to be making a change, but you don’t make the change yet. So that way, they have time to process it. Because you’ve been processing it potentially for months. You’ve been praying and seeking God’s clarity on all these things, and you’ve been processing it. This is the first time they’ve heard it. And then for you to just quickly make that change, some people need that time to process and that’s where like, what you’re saying is perfect. You’re just planting a seed. Hey, this is something we’ve been thinking about, we might be making this change where you know, deep down it’s probably going to happen, but this gives them that time. I love that.
Step #4: Cascade Your Communication
Jonathan Hardy 5:00
Okay, so we have pray in advance, we have identify the gain, we have take your time, and then the fourth thing today we’re going to be talking about, the fourth step, is to cascade your communication. Now, here’s what I mean by that, you need to be clear in the way you communicate the information about the change that you’re going to do. And so one of the things that’s important to know is why people resist change. And so we actually talked about that in episode number one. So if you haven’t listened to that, go check out Episode One, where we talked about the five reasons why change is so hard in the church. But you have to understand that first. So that way, when you go to present, you’re able to address the reasons that people often are going to have for why it’s going to be hard for them to accept this change, whatever the change might be. And then what you need to do in terms of cascading your communication is you slowly release it out to smaller and then a little bit larger groups of people over time.
Jonathan Hardy 5:55
So practically, how’s that look? Well, first off, you are ready to make the change, you need to start talking to maybe two, three, four, or five key leaders in the church. So this could be the church board. This could be, you know, if you happen to have some staff, this could be some staff, other leaders that are considered the core key leaders of the church, that small group of people first and what you’re doing through that is you’re asking for questions and feedback, you’re getting thoughts. So that way, you’re continuing to help refine your ability to present the content, when it comes time to presenting it to the church, or to whoever the players are involved that have to be a part of making that final official decision and sign off. And then from there, you go to a little bit larger group and so then maybe this may be all of your key leaders in the church total. So it can be your small group leaders or your key leaders that are on Sundays, the volunteers and all those different groups of people and you slowly just over time. It’s like kind of like peeling another layer off the onion. You know, you just you just keep doing that until you get to the point where you’re presenting it to whoever the final group of people you need to present to. Ultimately, I guess it’s probably the church presenting to the church. And by that point, you might not be asking for feedback, you’re just going to be presenting, here’s what’s happening. But you’ve asked for feedback and all these smaller group settings ahead of time, so you’re really able to address all the key core questions people are asking. And so that way, you can make sure to mitigate those through the presentation.
Dick Hardy 7:27
Well, and by that time, you got all the key influencers on board with you.
Jonathan Hardy 7:32
Dick Hardy 7:32
Because you’ve talked to them in advance, so by the time you get to the whole big group, the players who are going to influence are on board with you.
Jonathan Hardy 7:41
Well, and that’s huge, because then as people who are going to those key influencers and they’re all excited about the change, then that helps other people get excited about that change.
Jonathan Hardy 7:53
So let’s recap real quick again, here, the first four of the nine steps for today, and in the next episode we’ll be covering the final five steps that will help people buy into change. First is pray in advance. Second, identify the gain. Third, take your time. And then fourth, cascade your communication. So, Dick, what’s next?
Dick Hardy 8:15
Well, one of the things I really want to encourage you to do as you’re processing through and thinking, how am I going to navigate change, is I want you to take a look at the Five Day Leadership Challenge. Now you may say, Well, what’s that got to do with anything? Well, it has to do with you, and you’re the one who has to direct and guide this change that’s happening in the church. You know, it’s important. The Lord’s spoken to you. And both of us want to encourage you to get better as a leader and you’ll do that if you’ll take the Five Day Leadership Challenge there’s no cost to you. Just go to Leaders.Church/challenge, and you can sign on right there. If you do it today, this is day one of your Five Day Leadership Challenge. You gotta slice about 15 minutes a day off just for you. Just to invest in you, not others, not the church, you. When you get better, the church will get better. When you get better, you can lead change better and you’ll see great things happen. The other thing we really want to encourage you to do if you haven’t already is to subscribe to the platform that where you listen to podcasts and YouTube. Be sure to just be part of the regular release of Church Tips. We want to do everything we can to connect with you and help you be the best leader and best pastor possible.
Jonathan Hardy 9:35
That’s right. Okay well, thanks for being with us today. We look forward to seeing you next time. Until then, be blessed.
Dick Hardy 9:41
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