How to make change that matters

Start with resolve

In the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry, there comes a point where we’re told, “he turned his face towards Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51-56).

It’s a statement showing Jesus’ resolve to carry out the mission that His Father had given to him, “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Resolve is central to making chage that matters.

For Jesus, a certain resolution was necessary because the nature of the mission would cause him to die. And while we’re not called to die–at least not literally–there is an element of sacrifice in any attempt at change, especially change that really matters.

woman looking at the map
Photo by Leah Kelley on

Engage stakeholders

Stakeholders are a critical part of the change process, especially when it really matters. And whether it’s church members of employees, stakeholders can make or break any effort toward important and significant change.

As a result, one question I sometimes use to engage stakeholders is: what kind of company/agency/organization/church do we want to be?

Then I ask people to spend a little time and write a paragraph describing reality five years from now:

  • Who will work there?
  • List some key clients be?
  • What will worshippers there look like?
  • Describe worship services services be like?
  • What will office culture be?
  • What will the key ministries or initiatives be?
  • Why does moving toward this change matter?
  • Why’s it important?

Do some digging

What’s more, I’m a data guy. I love to intuit on the basis of hard numbers.

When I work with churches, I help them explore data. We look at the demographics and psychographics of people who live in a 15 minute drive time of their campus.

In doing this, our goal is to understand more fully who our neighbors are. We need to know what their needs are. And what some of the ways are that we can reach out to and connect with them.

Reaching them will likely involve some change. Reaching people is a mission that matters, and will likely demand important change.

Consider the Cost

Change is hard, especially change that matters.

It helps to imagine what the cost of not changing might be. And you could also imagine what good might happen because of the changes that are made.

Ask yourself: what will happen if things remain as they are?

Or, a more positive way to frame the question is, what good things can happen if we embrace change?

If you want to be brave, you might reflect on this question.

In order for my company or church to become all that I hope it will be, how would I need to change? 

In lieu of a comments section, I accept and encourage letters to the editor. If you would like to write a letter to the editor, you can do so here.

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