“Let’s Go” or “Let’s Make a Plan.” Which Are You?
Ways the Disciples Used Their Strengths to Manage Change, Part 1
Jesus’ last days on earth can give powerful lessons about the value of different strengths in solving problems, processing information, managing change, and facing risk.
During His last meal with His disciples, a conversation ensued about changes that were about to take place. Jesus explained that He was leaving.
The announcement caught the disciples by surprise. As they sought to make sense of the news, each one handled it in different ways.
Peter and Thomas give us a glimpse of the different ways people manage change.
Manage Change: “Let’s Go!” Versus “Let’s Make a Plan”
Peter’s response to Jesus’ impending departure was spontaneous: “Lord, why can’t I follow you now?” (John 13:37, NIV). In his usual fashion, Peter was intense. He was ready to move forward with passion and excitement. On the Managing Change profile scale, Peter was a classic Dynamic – a person who embraces change with energy and impatience, ready to charge ahead quickly. His motto: “Let’s go!”
Thomas, on the other hand, needed time to think about the upcoming change and make a plan to manage it. “Lord, we don’t know where you’re going,” he said to Jesus. “How can we know the way?” (John 14:5, NIV). Thomas wanted a map and an itinerary. Like other Predictables, Thomas preferred a systematic, deliberate approach to new situations. His motto: “Let’s make a plan.”
Jesus Builds on Our Strengths
Jesus knew that both approaches have value. Rather than criticize, Jesus embraced the two men and their differences – and built upon them.
He didn’t try to squelch Peter’s passion. In the midst of Peter’s eagerness, Jesus’ words of practicality showed the disciple what to look for – three denials – during the process of change.
Then He graciously gave Thomas information to make a plan. “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6, NIV), Jesus told him. Whereas Thomas was thinking concretely, Jesus helped him see conceptually, giving the disciple information he needed to be prepared for what was soon to come.
Managing Change: God Uses Both Approaches
Where would His church be without those who are enthusiastic and energetic, ready to move forward eagerly? The church needs Peters who say, “Let’s go!”
Yet all the ideas in the world (even those which are God-inspired) cannot have an impact unless they are implemented. The church needs Thomases who say, “Let’s make a plan” in order for changes to be put into practice.
Jesus knew that His fledgling church needed a combination of both these strengths in order to manage change effectively. Each of these disciples had important roles to play.
Are you a Peter or a Thomas? Whichever your approach to managing change, embrace it. Build on it. And look around, notice those who use different strengths during change, and embrace them too.
Jesus uses both Peters and Thomases to build His church then – and now.