Managing Change and Mission

Clergy encounter two constants in Christian faith communities: change and resistance to change! How do clergy effectively navigate and encourage change, while also honoring constancy and stability?

Some change is thrust upon communities—a fire or flood, a new housing development, a change in staff. Other change is chosen—a new worship service, a new building, a different approach to education and discipleship. In either case, some resistance to change is inevitable. Any movement in churches and religious organizations is the result of how clergy and lay leaders navigate this dance together. The dance happens in every faith community, regardless of size, age, location, or denomination.

Hopefully, any change in a faith community is related to its mission. Unfortunately, mission is not always a constant. It can be easy for people to lose sight of a larger purpose. Churches and organizations can settle into the habits of pattern and over time forget the purpose of the pattern. Or internal crises and conflicts can distract them from their larger purpose. It can be easy to forget that the Church exists for others beyond itself; faith communities can find it difficult to reach out to their surrounding neighborhoods.

While challenging, managing change and mission can be some of the most exciting work of ordained ministry! Seeing a faith community embrace a new direction and launch out into mission with fresh clarity and purpose can be an extremely joyful experience.

So how well are clergy educated and trained in processes of effective change leadership, and how well do they do in their first years of ministry? Reports, stories, and resources in this section deal with those questions as well as effective ways to manage and lead change and mission.

StoriesView All

Creativity and Change Management in the Church—One Pastor’s Approach

The Rev. Chris McKinney knows that sometimes you have to be creative to get your congregation’s attention. Like setting snack chips on fire during your sermon.


Developing a Discerning Community: Steps Toward Collaborative Decision-Making

For many small churches, a significant membership increase would be a dream come true. The Rev. Crystal Hughes knew that for her new parish it would also mean navigating an emotional minefield.


ResearchView All

Feedback: How Do Clergy Know When Their Message Is Sticking?

The Clergy Into Action Study asked recently ordained ministers what strategies they use to get a clear sense of how people are responding to their communications and change efforts.