Tim Taylor Pastor Victory Baptist Church Vergennes, Vermont
The other day I hired a 42 year old woman to teach the preschoolers in our school. I went over her contract and said I wanted to be absolutely sure she was good with things because I hoped she would be here for 20 years. Her reply was, “That could happen, I hate change.” I popped back, “Me, too.” I have pastored at this church for 32 years. At that instant, I thought, actually I embrace change.
Pastoring is all about change or the ministry dies. If COVID-19 has done nothing else, it has brought about change. One of our church members, who has had a lot of illness, mentioned that this virus has really improved our live streaming. He was right. We had to change it to be much better than it was, our whole church was watching, or at least I was working towards that goal.
At 64, I am faced with some of the biggest ministry changes of my life. If you have brought your church through growth, building projects, ministry expansions or transitions you have had to deal with change. What are the three things required for successful change? Leadership, leadership, leadership.
A successful leader must possess five traits. First, a leader must be credible. Credibility is hard earned, not demanded. Secondly, a leader must be a good communicator. They have a clear vision that is transferable. Thirdly, a leader must an implementer. They have the skills to implement change or they possess the ability to recruit or hire those who do. Fourthly, a leader must be determined. They are doggedly determined to see change succeed; even if that means to reshape or “change the change.” Lastly, a true leader must be humble. They share the success; it is not all about themselves, and they are happy that others have partnered.
As we go through this pandemic, there is little doubt that everything has changed except the Gospel. If you take a moment to think about it, the entire New Testament is about change. From the virgin birth to the second coming, the work of Jesus Christ is ever morphing and changing. The early church was forced to leave Jerusalem due to circumstances beyond their control. From Jerusalem to Antioch and around the world, the work of Christ adapts and changes while we continue to preach the ageless, unchanging Gospel. Embrace change.