If you were to ask most Pastors what they dread the most they would most likely say change. Some Pastors have had a horrible experience bringing about change in their churches.
Many Christians greatly resist change of any kind. We tend to fight change in our own lives and by extension, we also fight it in the church. We want everything to stay the same, even though we know life moves on. Sometimes staff members move on. People leave the church for a variety of reasons. Change in the local church is not something to fear but to embrace as part of the normal, ordinary Christian life.
Writing to address church and members, Dr. Thom Rainer a seasoned pastor, recognized expert on church health, and CEO of Lifeway wrote Who Moved My Pulpit: Leading Change in the Church. The book has eleven chapters which consider when the pulpit gets moved, difficult church members, prayer and ministry, confrontation and communication, and building a coalition of church members. The book also considers how to become a voice and vision for hope, implementing and consolidating change, and making a difference.
More Communication Is Good
The biggest takeaway from this book for me is the need to communicate. It’s been said (and I agree) more communication is better than less. What else is essential is relational care and maturity among church leaders. People need to know the leadership of the church cares for them beyond what they can do for them. This is one of the things I love about the church where I’m at now. People don’t care about me for what I do. Instead, people care about me as a person.
In local church ministry, church leaders need to care for people and not only the people that are actively involved. Building relationships with church members, regular attendees, and visitors goes a long way. It shows them the pastors and ministry leaders care.
When difficult situations arise people are more likely to consider such change as needed because it comes from leaders who care for them. They will also know these leaders are speaking to address issues in the church that need to change.
There will always be some people who oppose such change. What I love about Thom’s book is how he communicates in an easy to understand manner. He urges church leaders to not rush into change but to invest in the people in the church.
Change is Messy
Thom writes to serve church leaders and encourages them by promoting healthy change. He is not advocating for running over the people. Instead, he wants church leaders to shepherd people like Jesus. He is commending to ministry leaders the hard work of getting into the mess of people’s lives where they can help them know and apply biblical truth into their lives.
Whether you are are a church or ministry, Who Moved My Pulpit: Leading Change in the Church has something for you. You likely won’t agree with everything Thom says in this book and you don’t have to. Instead, thoughtfully read this book and learn from it, I know I did, and I know you will.
I highly recommend this book and believe reading it will go a long way to helping church and ministry leaders invest in the people they have the privilege of leading and to shepherd them well to Jesus.