We’ve all heard it before… that one phrase that makes us cringe like nails on a chalkboard…
“That’s not the way we used to do it!”
This phrase is painful, simply because it isn’t uttered to protect the organization from repeating a mistake (then it would be “We tried that and _______ happened.”), but instead the phrase generally represents a stick-in-the-mud. The idea to change is brought about because a need is recognized or the current method is not effectively meeting a need. There is no sense in reinventing a round wheel nor is there sense in driving on a flat.
Every day the need to share the Gospel increases. In the past 25 years the world population grew by a little over 2 billion people, that’s billion, with a B. The failure of our churches to simply keep up with growth in population represents the existence of inefficiencies. When an unmet or under-served need is realized there is an opportunity to make changes – simply knowing that something isn’t working [well enough] doesn’t fix a thing though.
I am constantly evaluating and looking for these opportunities both in my career and in my personal life. I learned the hard way that simply ignoring a need doesn’t make it go away, instead it just keeps showing itself and can become quite frustrating. Here are a few of my thoughts about making changes:
- Doing nothing, in many cases, may make things worse.
- Just changing for the sake of changing may also make things worse.
- Trying to please everyone isn’t as important as meeting the need.
There is immense value in reflecting on experience before proceeding. Even more value in spending time in prayer – not just for what to do next but for vision to be able to understand what could be created. BUT, don’t forget that reflection and prayer are just the beginning. Many teams have the desire to change but get stuck in this planning stage. Nothing can come from a plan that isn’t executed.
Let’s take this idea of change to Hope Gate’s values – serving those in need. There are so many ways to support humanitarian efforts: fundraising, donation drives, short term aid trips, field partners. Whatever it is that your ministry is involved with, stop and wonder if your efforts could be better. Could the fundraising campaign to purchase a new vehicle for a field partner be better with new tactics or technologies? Could you collect more donations through a new collection process?
Where are the unmet needs in your ministry? What improvements can you make? Are you willing to take a leap of faith?
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(Lake Williamson &
Hope Gate Advocate)