Monday, May 5, 2014

Change Part 2

Change is Inevitable

"No man can put his foot in the same river twice"

Whether we like it or not change is inevitable. Things are going to change. Greek philosopher, Heraclitus [1], quoted often by Plato and Diogenes, was known for his doctrine of change,

 “No man can put his foot in the same river twice, … Everything flows, nothing stands still, …Nothing endures but change.”

As much as we want things to remain the same, they will change, like it or not. We age, people are born, people pass on, our lives are constantly in flux. Economics, international conflicts, geophysical incidents, and political factors keep changing and they all impact the stability of society,commerce, and the church. Leaders must always anticipate and be prepared for changes which effect their organizations. The wise leaders must be more than an organizational maven. They must be able to respond to the changes which are inevitable. For information on leading when finances are uncertain you can find resources at Aslan Press

Leaders must be:


As a prophet, leaders must anticipate all issues which could impact the organization. You may call it intuition, understanding the times and seasons, or hearing the voice of God, but a good leader cannot merely react to events. By the time you react, it is too late. Organizations that merely react to the world around them will forever be followers. They may have a modicum of success but they will never be true leaders in their fields. If you are skeet shooting, you cannot aim at the clay pigeon, you must anticipate where it will be when the shot arrives. While the arc of the clay and the trajectory of the shot are easily figured by an expert skeet shooter, not all of the changes which effect your organization are as easy. However the leader must realize that things will be changing and prepare contingency plans.


Flexibility is not to be equated to being wishy-washy, it is the ability to bend without breaking. There is always a limit to how much we can bend before we break. No matter how good you are at reading the future, there will be times when a change occurs that was not anticipated and you have no contingencies. While a change may take you by surprise, you must be able to roll with the punch and still stand. 

Flexibility imparts power. In the early days of pole vaulting athletes were limited to their own physical abilities. As vaulting poles became more flexible, vaulting records were broken. Golf clubs with flexible faces impart greater distance to the drive. As we age, our bodies become less flexible which results in pain as we are stretched. As organizations age, they often become less flexible. New church plants can change worship styles, facilities, and programs easily while large established churches are more rigid. That is why it is often easier to start new churches in order to reach a younger generation than it is to change older ones. 

Obviously there may be issues where rigidity is an asset, but remaining rigid in the face of changing winds may result in breakage. 

Be Unshakable

Being unshakable may seem to run in the face of flexibility, but my use here is to stay the course. Each organizational leader should have such a powerful purpose or vision of what he is trying to accomplish that that vision is not deterred by changes in the environment. Several years ago when I moved to a new city to become pastor of a newly planted church, the Lord gave me a vision of what He wanted me to accomplish. After the first three years we only saw a small part of the vision emerging. While frustrated with our results, we did not know anything else to d than stay with the plans and vision. After a couple of more years, everything in the vision had been accomplished accept one thing. We had remained true to the initial vision while changes kept coming against us.

Accept the fact of Change

Heraclitus also wrote: "The only thing constant is change itself."

[1] . Greek philosopher, Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 535 BC – 475 BC)

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