January 30, 2017

Ministry Leaders Who Seek Change Fear These 3 Things

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 

In 2 Timothy, 1:6-7, Paul wrote to Timothy in response to the people's opposition to his gospel message. His message was designed to bring about change in the character and in the lives of the people. Timothy's message was meant to bring about change in who they served, and even how they served Him.

As it often is with those who lead change, his message was not received well. Timothy began to receive opposition not only to his message, but to himself as a leader. 

One of the biggest obstacles to change, for many ministry leaders, is fear. Fear can keep leaders from trying new things, or speaking up in support of necessary change. It can prevent them from taking the necessary risks that are essential for change. 

I have written much on the unwillingness of ministry leaders to change, even when they know much change is needed. This blog post is written to encourage those ministry leaders who see that change is needed, and are willing, and have the courage to see it through. 

When it comes to change, there are three key obstacles ministry leaders fear:

  1. People. They want it their way. People like things to stay the same. Rarely do people consider the future. People hate change. Some, even struggle with it. Change makes people uncomfortable, so they tend to cling to the traditional and the status quo for a sense of security. 

  2. Failure. Most leaders who are change agents are also entrepreneurs. As entrepreneurs, we see problems and we set out to solve them. We make things easier, faster, or more convenient. We entertain, inspire or advise. We improve lives in some way.

    However, like any entrepreneur, we must be willing to fail. Why? Because entrepreneurs are risk takers, and people who take risks sometimes fail. 

    I’ve been successful at times, and failed at times. The point is, change involves risks. If you are looking to lead change, you have to understand this. I write about this here.

  3. Ridicule. One of the key reasons why ministry leaders don’t trust one another is because we have a tendency to ridicule. When and if a fellow ministry leader operates or their ministries function in ways we may not understand we will often assume the wrong things.

    I don’t mind being ridiculed, but get to know me first. I've found that when you get to know a person, how they think and operate, you’re less likely to ridicule them.

    We can learn a lot from Aquila's and Priscilla's example on how to get to know people first.

    Leaders who are change agents often times say and do things that are not understood at the moment. Remember Joseph, Jesus, Paul? They're in good company, so before you ridicule them, as an old man once said, “wait a while”. 

I’ve met and know a few ministry leaders who recognized that their ministries were in need of change, both naturally and spiritually. Changes that would ensure the future of those ministries. 

As I wrote in 4 Things to Know When Leading Change, Just as change is not easy, neither is leading change. Why? Because you’re going against the way things have always been done.

It’s alright to have some fear, we’re human. However, having a spirit of fear is to be controlled by fear. It is an attitude or thinking that hinders and prevents progress and transformation. 

Just as Paul urged Timothy, ministry leaders who are change agents must be bold. When we allow fear to control and intimidate us, we neutralize our effectiveness for God. 

The power of His spirit will help us overcome our fear of what some might say or do to us, so that we can continue to do God’s work.

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