Change is constant in life. People must learn to cope with it in their personal lives, their health, their families and their careers. Organizations must navigate change due to factors in the marketplace, advances in technology or internal challenges.
Churches are not exempt from the reality of change. Change can frustrate church members and discourage pastors. In fact, the issue may be the most significant barrier to missional revitalization that is facing the local church.
In his latest book, Who Moved My Pulpit?, Thom Rainer uses case studies and stories from a variety of churches to address how to lead change in a church. Written for pastors, church staff and lay leaders wanting to make a positive contribution, the book provides an eight-stage roadmap for change. Rainer emphasizes principles such as prayer, communication, teamwork and people issues. The pastor must be a voice of hope for the congregation, Rainer says. Equally important is the willingness of the congregation to move its focus toward evangelism and community impact.
The author does not shy away from the challenges of personality, nor does he pit pastor against congregation, acknowledging that both church leaders and members must take ownership of the current state of the church.
The failures of pastors in implementing change are chronicled in the book. Additionally, he classifies five types of “unmovable” church members that will be recognizable to most readers. The final chapter is an inspiring call to embrace change for the sake of the gospel, despite the obstacles one may face.
Rainer has created something of a cottage industry by writing small volumes intended to be read together by a church. This book is no exception. The concise volume lends itself to group study. Each chapter concludes with diagnostic and study questions for discussion. Readers will also find the “Change Readiness Inventory” in the appendix is a useful instrument to assess the potential for transition in the church. If a church body were to use it and discuss the results together, they may find the inventory itself to be a catalyst for change.
Who Moved My Pulpit? is readable and tackles a critical issue for churches today. This book should be read by every pastor and church leader who desires to see people revived, churches renewed and communities restored. By reading and reasoning together, pastors and people can approach change with a united game plan for kingdom impact.
The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina is hosting a one-day event March 7, 2017 called “Leading Change in the Church.”
The program – based on Who Moved My Pulpit? – will provide church leadership training from Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, and nearly two dozen ministry leaders from across the country.
Individual registration for the conference is $10. Visit leadingchange.church for more information.