Most young pastors are blessed to enter into their first pastorate in churches that are rich with tradition and heritage. And while it would be easy to dismiss that reality arrogantly – “I mean, clearly, they’ve never had a pastor like me” – it’s not exactly wise.
Likely, this church has more years under genuine Godly leadership than you have had birthdays. And yet, as you walk in the door, that one thing catches your attention. That one thing that sets you off. It makes you crazy. In fact, you can’t nail it down, but you’re fairly certain it is to blame for the tick and spastic eye that you’re developing.
How do you determine if it’s worth changing?
Would you do things differently? Now, you’ve likely already answered this question, otherwise, why is it even under consideration. But, just as you ask of anyone on your staff, “Don’t bring up a complaint without first coming up with a solution or alternative.” (If you can’t nail this down, there’s no point in even continuing down the list.) What about this particular issue, program, decoration, etc. would you change? How would you do it differently? How would you roll out the change? And perhaps, this line of thought leads directly into the next.
Could you do things differently? What is the cost that you’ll inevitably pay for making this change? It’s really not up for debate as to whether it will cost, but you get to determine at what cost the change is worth. Is it worth it? Could you justify the cost that the change will require? Is it worth losing a sound-guy? A family? A staff-member? A tithing deacon or elder? It would be worth bouncing this off of a more experienced pastor, as it’s been my experience that I most commonly underestimate the cost that it will require.
Should you do things differently? Finally, once you’ve come up with a solution or alternative, and you’ve counted the cost, you can reasonably determine if it’s time to move forward with that change.
The reality is that in my ministerial experience (as a young pastor and as a staff member), I’ve experienced this on many levels. I’ve seen churches completely transition from traditional to modern at the expense of 300+ members. I’ve seen churches change service times, building locations, methodological changes, membership processes, names, affiliations – seriously, the list goes on and on.
Every decision needs to pass through a set of filters within you before they move onto the decision-making body of your church (staff, elders, deacons, etc.). Your diligence to suggest changes that have been thought-out and carefully considered will display mature leadership on your part.