Leading a Transition Involves the Painful Process of Watching Concrete Dry
Every church must transition. Every church should always be in some form of a transition. If the only constant is change, then leaders must guide churches through a transition in areas where change is occurring.
This change can be grand—a new site, a campus relocation, or a new mission endeavor. This change can be smaller—a new curriculum in the children’s department, a new budget process, or a new security procedure. All change, however, involves a transitioning phase.
Leading in this transition phase is like laying a foundation of concrete. Making the tactical/strategic/technical changes encompasses the work of putting the foundation in place. But in order for the transition to work, these changes must settle and solidify into the culture of the people. Technical changes come more easily. They are typically driven from the top. Cultural changes take time, and they come from the bottom. Like a worker laying the foundation of a house, leaders must watch and wait for the foundation of change to dry before building on it.
This process of watching concrete dry is painful, slow, and tedious, especially for leaders who are change agents. However, it is a necessary part of the process to make a transition permanent. If you try to move through the change too quickly, it’s like walking on a wet foundation. You just make a mess and ruin all the work up to that point.
Every transition involves a drying process. Every church should be transitioning. So, it means that every church leader must stop, wait, and watch for some amount of time. You may not feel like you’re working. You may feel like it’s time to build. You may want to hurry up and start something new. You will only make a mess. Take time to let your tactical changes settle into the culture of the church first. Then move and build again.