023 - How to Turn a Change-Resistant Church - Leaders.Church


023 – How to Turn a Change-Resistant Church

What’s in this Episode?

Have you ever felt like you wanted to make changes in the church and yet the entire church or a large portion of the church was resistant to that change? Well, if so, you’re in a good place today, because in this episode, we’re going to talk about six ways you can turn a change resistant church, to where people all of a sudden are buying in and onboard with the vision that God has given you.

Read the Transcript

Dick Hardy 0:26
You know, there’s a story told of a young pastor who came to a church, and there was an old piano sitting in the middle of the platform. And so he’s trying to figure out how in the world we’re going to get rid of this old this old piano and a wise older pastor said, “if you’re going to move something like that, you need to do it one inch at a time, per week.” Now, that means it’s going to take you a long time to get this piano to move, but that’s exactly what that young pastor did. And people didn’t even know what was happening, because he was using such wisdom rather than just yanking it off and ticking off a bunch of people who loved the piano there. He just did it one step at a time. There is really an art and a science behind the business of helping turn a change resistant church. And that young pastor was smart enough to follow the advice that was given to him ahead of time. So, well, we’re going to talk today about what you actually do to turn a change resistant church. How the world does this exactly happen?

Jonathan Hardy 1:35
Yep. So I’d say let’s just jump in with some thoughts on how.

Dick Hardy 1:38
So I’m supposed to start? Okay!

Jonathan Hardy 1:40
Let’s just have you do it all.

Tip #1: Identify Why Change Resistance Happens

Dick Hardy 1:41
First of all, you need to identify why change resistance happens. In fact, I’d encourage you. Literally go back to episode one, where we talked about why change resistance is so hard. Why do people resist it? You have to understand the “why” first. Maybe your church has been burned, because the pastor came in and changed something. Do your research. Understanding the “why” helps you make changes better, because you’re able to mitigate the roadblocks or the landmines that are going to pop up when you make the change.

Tip #2: Look For Change Influencers

Dick Hardy 2:17
The second thing is to look for change influencers. I remember, I would regularly, in my time serving churches, I would regularly look for that guy or that gal who had influence with the group of people where the change was going to happen. So when you do that, then you have to use the terms “someone on the inside,” because someone is part of their group, who will say, “oh, okay, Pastor’s suggesting this. Bill or Mary agree with it. Okay, I’m gonna be more relaxed with the change.” If you’ll identify the change influencers, I mean, all of us have read the John Maxwell books and he talks about the guy, Claude. Claude was the influencer. It wasn’t necessarily the board member or the official title, but Maxwell learned early on that if you talk to Claude, Claude would make things happen to really grease the skids for him going forward. So third one.

Tip #3 Help People Change Their Thinking From “Change Is Loss” to “Change Is Gain”

Jonathan Hardy 3:16
Yeah, so we need to help people change their thinking, from change is loss to change is gain. And the thing is, people aren’t afraid of the change, what they’re actually afraid of is loss. They’re afraid of loss of something. So you know, are they gonna, they’re gonna, just the loss of what they had is what they’re actually afraid of. So we need to help them understand that the change isn’t a loss. They’re not going to lose something they’re actually going to gain by making this change. So let’s use a couple examples, music, you know, when we think of contemporary music versus the traditional music. There are people that might think, well, “I’m losing my tradition or losing my traditional music as a result.” You know, so style. I’m losing what I used to do or how we used to do things. And people are always like, “well I wish we could do things the way we used to do in the old days.” And so with the style changes that happen, you know, methods, all the different, you know, things. Another example would be, you know, changing from a lot of churches over the last decade or two, shifted from small group from Sunday school to small group ministry, further discipleship. And so positioning that in a way, well, this isn’t a loss, this is actually a gain for our church by doing this. And so you have to figure out how can you position the change in terms of gain instead of loss.

Dick Hardy 4:41
Well, I can tell you, I just want to reinforce that. Pastor, this is huge. If you can really help people see the gain. You’re gonna see things your changes happen way better. Don’t just say, “well, why are they against what I want to do?” That feels like it because they are afraid that they’re losing something. So don’t ignore that, but help turn it to what they’re gaining. I’m telling you, I cannot overemphasize how important that third one is.

Tip #4: Get Some Quick Wins

Jonathan Hardy 5:14
Now, the fourth thing is to get some quick wins. It’s really helpful as you’re wanting to make more and more changes over time is to try to get you some quick wins under your belt. So maybe some low hanging fruit, some of those things that are going to be easy changes to make that people are going to be able to buy into and you can help them do that. By the way, Dick mentioned episode one, but I also want to mention episodes five and six, where we talk about kind of a two part series on the nine things that you can do to help people buy into change. And so you want to do some things that are going to help them buy in and one of the ways to do that is to get some quick wins under your belt, because once you start getting some wins, people see that, they like that, and they want more wins. And so when you start getting more and more wins, then just kind of wins, lead to more wins. And it’s just this cycle that can start happening. So get some quick wins under your belt. So Dick, you want to recap that?


Dick Hardy 6:08
Okay, yeah, let’s do that the four things that you need to do to turn a change resistant church is to identify why change resistance exists, look for change influencers, change thinking from change is loss to change is gain, and then get some quick wins under your belt. When you’ll do these things. You’ll see the church begin to soften and be ready for more and more change that’s going to set you up for greater success to mission.

Jonathan Hardy 6:39
That’s right.

Dick Hardy 6:39
Anything to add to this?

Jonathan Hardy 6:40
Well I just want to mention that tomorrow is a very special day.

Dick Hardy 6:43
Big news! Big, big news! Tell us about it! Oh boy, you want me to tell about it?

Jonathan Hardy 6:47
You tell!

Dick Hardy 6:49
I love what has been produced. Church University has the new track, the newest track, the kids ministry track.

Jonathan Hardy 6:58
To be clear, let’s talk about what Church University is.

Dick Hardy 7:02
Okay. Church University is our training tool or a website that has training tools. We’ve got the church board in there we’ve got church audio now we have a kidmin track of training for pastors and church leaders and kids ministry leaders. This thing has got, I think the number, don’t hold me to this, I think it’s 44 individual videos, discussion guides, templates, and downloads that you can just run with and the timing could not be better. I mean, literally, you know, we’re, at least at the point of this recording, we’re heading into the fall, and if you could get this for your kids ministry leader, whether they’re a paid kids pastor or a kidmin volunteer, you want to get them this resource, because this is going to be a game changer, game changer for kids ministry. You’re going to see kids ministry go to levels you never imagined possible. I’m beyond excited about it.

Jonathan Hardy 7:56
Yeah, it’s a great way to be able to help them understand how to relate to kids with all the stuff going on in the world, the technology and all the things, how can we as a church be relevant to kids and for kids ministry not to be boring or something that they drag their feet to, but they actually look forward to. And this course is going to help you. I mean, the whole Church University courses, they’re kind of like online education really for pastors, and so for kids ministry leaders in this particular case. And so you want to make sure to check that out. We’re going to say something else?

Dick Hardy 8:23
Yes. Releases tomorrow. Tomorrow’s the big day. So keep your eye peeled for it.

Jonathan Hardy 8:27
Okay, that’s gonna be exciting. Also, be sure to subscribe on YouTube or podcast. And please rate and review, let us know your feedback on the Church Tips show. We are so thankful to be able to provide that for you and hope that it is helpful to you. So let us know. Give us your feedback. And we look forward to seeing you next time until then, be blessed.

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