Transitions, Part 4: Managing Change

Race or Slow Pace? Two Ways to go about Managing Change

Change is a constant for your team. Like other transitions a team faces (such as processing information and solving problems), your team members manage change in radically different ways.

As a team conducts ministry, it passes through four inescapable transitions – movements or changes that take the team from one “place” to another. In this part 4 of 5 in our Transition Series, we examine how God provides specific ways your team can thrive through the transition of managing change.

  • Some team members take a dynamic approach to managing change and adapt quickly, always alert for opportunities and ready to seize them with energy and enthusiasm.
  • Some embrace a predictable approach. They want explanation for change, a clear sense of direction, and time to understand it before they move forward.

2 young womenThe children’s ministry team met to prepare for their fall launch. “Who will be in charge of registration?” Katie asked, looking around the room and acknowledging a volunteer. “OK, thank you, Mike.” Katie looked at the next item on the agenda. She was ready to move forward at a quick pace.

But Joyce raised her hand. “I’m concerned about numbers,” she said. “Last year, we had twice as many children as the year before. What if we double again this year?” Soon the room was peppered with questions. Would there be enough teachers and leaders? Where would the classes meet? Joyce’s question had changed the pace of the meeting.

Katie called the team to order. “I am sure God would not want us to turn anyone away,” she said briskly. “He will want us to figure a way to make it work. Let’s keep going.”

Joyce bristled. In her mind there were too many variables about the exploding children’s program. She desperately wanted to discuss potential scenarios, but Katie had already moved onto the next agenda item.

Two Different Ways to Manage Change

Katie and Joyce represent two opposite approaches to managing change. Both personality types bring strengths to a team.

Katie, a Dynamic, processed the change with energy. She was eager for what growth would bring, confident the team could adjust, and excited to make it happen. Dynamics like Katie bring enthusiasm to a team.

Joyce, however, preferred a more deliberate approach. As a Predictable, she needed reasons why the team would make extra efforts to accommodate more children and time to adjust before she could buy in to the changes. She brought stability to the team.

Each approach also represents a unique pace: multi-tasking, intense urgency from the Dynamic and the Predictable’s unhurried, methodical steadiness. These strengths can collide to create turbulence and conflict – or balance each other to navigate change in a healthy way.

Both Strengths Work Together

The situation might have created a deep rift in the team. Fortunately, Katie and Joyce both understood their personalities when it came to facing change. While Katie was the team leader, she knew that her Dynamic tendency was to sprint through issues quickly and keep the conversation moving, even discussing many things at once. But she recognized the need to address issues one by one for Predictables in the group like Joyce. Likewise, once Joyce realized there was the opportunity to reach more families if the ministry expanded, she was willing to consider different ways to conduct the program than the team had in the past.

The next meeting began this way: “Registrations are up considerably from last year,” Katie said. “Let’s take some time to think about how we can manage this. Joyce, do you have some input?”

Will your team race through change or take a slower pace? Speed and deliberation balance each other. That’s why Dynamics and Predictables who understand and value each others’ strengths – and intentionally work to blend together – can be a recipe for success.

Growth Point Effective change includes a balance between a fast and a slow pace.Scripture

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.(1 Corinthians 12:12, NIV)

Prayer Points

  • Identify those on your team who bring the enthusiasm of Dynamics and those who bring the reliability of Predictables.
  • Reflect on the pace of your last team meeting and changes God may be asking you to make.
  • Ask God to show you how to affirm the strengths of the Dynamics and the Predictables on your team.

Other articles in the Transitions series

Transitions, Part 1: Constructive or Destructive?
Transitions, Part 2: Processing Information
Transitions, Part 3: Solving Problems
Transitions, Part 5: Facing Risk