Unmanageable (and Unimaginable) Change
Understanding Kingdom Change Management
We hear a lot today about the need for ‘change management’. It has become a common term for navigating difficult organizational waters. The assumption in the term is that change can, indeed, be managed. In pursuit of this sometimes enigmatic goal we are taught how to use communication effectively to help our people work through times of uncertainty and transition. Countless webinars, books and workshops promise to help us become masters of organizational redirection and cultural reconfiguration.
This is all fine and good as long as the change that takes place remains external to us. That is, change can be managed as long as it remains confined to the manipulation of processes and careful control of inputs and attitudes that lead to a general sense of well being for the majority of our people.
However, therein lies the problem.
As leaders of people who are on a journey of increased faithfulness to God in service of His kingdom, the change brought about by the Holy Spirit is seldom if ever confined to these external components. By its very nature, kingdom of God change is highly personal. Its goal is soul transformation, not merely functional transition. Put simply, God never seems content to change our circumstances without first changing our hearts.
This is as true for a community, congregation, ministry or business as it is for us personally. God transforms communities through a deeper surrender of its people’s hearts. Change moves from inside out. Communities manage change well because cultural shifts in the external community reflect internal movements of the heart and spirit. And the internal change is seldom predictable or manageable.
How do we lead our people through change in this spirit-centric, holistic way?
How do we ensure that our ‘change management’ leadership carries the radical, unmanageable (and unimaginable) character of Spirit-led transformation?
Consider the following contrast between how we might pray for external change management help and how God might respond with soul-transforming change.
I prayed, “God change the challenges I am facing in my job so that I might be more successful.”
God answered, “I will change you so that you will do all things in my name and pursue faithfulness in place of success.”
I prayed, “God change our finances so that we will have the money we need to feel secure.”
God answered, “I will change you so that you will be content with what I provide and find your only security in me.”
I prayed, “God change my co-workers so that they will be easier to work with.”
God answered, “I will change you so that you will have a heart to journey with your co-workers and serve them.”
I prayed, “God, change our board so they will be more supportive of me and our organization.”
God answered, “I will change you so that you will find strength in accountability, humility in service and provide encouragement through your leadership.”
I prayed, “God change my weaknesses that I will become a stronger leader.”
God answered, “I will change you to develop a humble heart so that my strength will be made perfect in your weakness.”
I prayed, “God change this conflict we are facing and bring us peace.”
God answered, “I will change you and give you a heart at peace so I can work through you to be a peacemaker.”
I prayed, “God change the obstacles in my life so that I might be a better leader.”
God answered, “I will change you so that through your complete surrender I might make you into the person I created you to be.”
I stopped my praying, considered God’s response, and began anew,
“Dear God, we need to bring change to our organization, so start by changing me…”
Are you ready to lead change by letting God change you first? That is true kingdom change management!