Over the last month, my training schedule overflowed. I found myself teaching certain topics over and over again. When I cover the same thing in classes back to back to back, I learn more about the topic, myself.
Change management happened to be one of my repeat performers. As much as we need change, most of us don’t like it. Usually, we fear the unknown. We become comfortable with the status quo and don’t want to stretch. What if we fail? What if something goes wrong? What if we don’t like the new?
While I taught this topic in the classroom, I faced an unusual change in my life. Our minister of close to twenty-five years resigned to take a position in Texas. Some of you have dealt with the change of a minister many times, but I haven’t. My ministers only changed when I moved, not them. Weird? Maybe. But it left me totally unprepared for this experience.
So, here I was teaching the process of change (unfreeze, change, refreeze), and suddenly I related more to the people who get stuck in the stage of denial. I didn’t even know I was in denial until our church gave our minister’s family a going away dinner. The more I thought about the things they had done for us, the more difficult my ability to accept their departure. How’s that for understanding change?
With change surfacing in my training workshops and in my own life, I decided to explore how God approaches change. Let’s face it, as Christians we must accept change if we’re to grow in our faith. We must turn away from our old life and embrace a new one with Christ.
In Matthew 28:18-20, we find Christ’s call to change while he provides the support we need to manage change:
Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always to the end of the age.”
We can’t go forth and make disciples without changing our own approach with people. We can’t ask them to learn about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit without asking them to change. It’s tough. It’s not always easy. We fail sometimes, we succeed sometimes, sometimes the seeds we sow fall on shallow ground only to be choked out by weeds later. In the midst of this, fear of change rears its ugly head and pushes back.
So, how do we handle change? It’s not always easy, but most of the things we take for granted in our lives are the result of change. We must remember that no matter what changes we encounter, Christ is with us always.
And when it gets tough, we should remember Phil 4:13:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
What changes have challenged you in the face of your faith?