Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Change Part Two

I saw an interview recently with Jack Welch (former CEO of GE). He said something along the lines that change can never be too fast. When he said that, my immediate thought was that he had never tried to lead a church - where change at any pace seems to be too fast.

I have often heard it said that, "The change at the church was implemented too fast," and that is why there is upset and sometimes outright revolt. But, I am beginning to think that no matter what the pace of the change is, it is going to bring resistance.

Within any group of people (such as a church congregation) there will be those who want change and those who do not want change. And, no matter what you do - change or not change - you are going to run into challenges. If you change, the resisters will either: a) stay and fight it, b) stay and sulk, or c) leave. If you don't change the changers will either: a) stay and fight it, b) stay and sulk, or c) leave. So, to word it more crudely, "Your damned if you do and your damned if you don't!"

When we change things up and it doesn't go as well as we hoped, I wonder if the question we ask ourselves is not about the pace of the change, but whether the change was necessary in the first place. If the change was necessary, then maybe Jack was right. It is a little like tearing off a bandaid. Do you rip it off quickly and get it over with, or pull slowly and drag out the pain.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Change Part One

I'm thinking about change these days. Partly because I just watched change "hit the fan." It is always ugly when things go sideways. People get hurt. And it seems like change is one of the surest ways to hurt people. I have to say somewhat selfishly (my fallen nature) that I am glad that it was not my fan that just got hit. But, it still hurts to watch friends struggle.

I am reading Seth Godin's book, Tribes and while the book is about leadership and human tribalism, its undercurrent is that our world is constantly changing and it needs people to lead that change. He says, "People want connection and growth and something new. They want change." (p.2) I don't disagree with Godin its just if people want change so badly, why do we have dozens of books and experts and seminars on managing change and dealing with the aftermath of change. The paradox is that while we seem to resist change, we have created a society that is caught in a vortex of constant and rapid change.

We all want change and we all do change and we all benefit from change, while at the same time we all resist change. I tried to brainstorm why and the following is a list of words that came to my mind about change:
Pro Change - better, lust, necessity, excitement, pride, different, image, boredom, improvement
Pro Status Quo - connection, control, memory, continuity, comfort, stability, constant, known

There is nothing inherently wrong, immoral or unethical with wanting or not wanting change. Change and Status Quo are morally neutral. Sometimes change is forced upon us. Sometimes change just feels good. Sometimes it nice to go back to the old neighbourhood . Sometimes its nice to sing an old song.

And maybe its not about change at all. After all Solomon wrote, "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:9 - NIV)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Furry - The Haters

I am going to let my furry reign here for a moment. I was looking up an article by John Piper on why he was using social media to share the gospel. I was doing this because I just launched myself on Twitter and I was going to post this on my Facebook page. (As a aside, I am using social media, but not necessarily as a platform to convert the world - after all 90% of the people who read my few posts have already made a commitment to Christ, so they don't need converting, nor do they need my frail insights into the nature of God.)

Well what shock! When I started looking up the Google hits on John Piper I discovered that there are a lot of "Christian" haters on the web. These are people who claim to be Christian, but they have a deep need to attack others as non-Christian, because they view their doctrine as heretical. By the time I was finished following all of the links I realized that there are no prominent pastors or Christian leaders who are not condemned by those who believe that they alone have accurate doctrine and correct belief. I could not believe the arrogance of these people. I find it hard to understand that anyone can actually believe that they alone have it all correct and that they alone have they the authority and right to virulently attack others with whom they disagree. I'm going to have a tough enough time on judgement day, without that on my head. I can just hear God saying, "Who gave you the right to touch my anointed ones?"

What I found even more disturbing was that these attacks were all about doctrine and correct belief, but in all of the arguments I never saw Jesus lifted up. It seemed like all of this Christian infighting was about everything but Christ. Its as if Christ is a no longer central to our message. Its as if correct doctrine leads to salvation. Is as if what we believe is more important than in whom we believe.

The sad thing is that all this infighting is there for the world to see. No wonder the Gospel is a tough sell in this world. Who would want to fellowship with a bunch of nasty haters. Jesus said that the world would know we are His disciples by our love for one another. I think that love is a little hard to find amongst those who choose to hate. Of course the haters argument is that the people they are attacking really aren't true Christians. Which begs the question, "Who are true Christians and who makes that distinction?" I always figured that was God's job, but apparently not. It would seem that the haters have taken over that role and God help us all because I think that we will all be condemned.