Friday, November 19, 2010

The Fear and Anxiety Committee...

One guaranteed emotional response to change in a church is fear. I have seen fear go off on its own course regardless of anyone's ironclad process, and I've seen change make a direct hit to the anxiety alarm in the brain.

I have seen clergy thrown to the anti-change wolves. I have watched transformational leaders butt their heads against emotional barriers.

Three issues are in play: Fear and other emotions complicate all efforts; many pastors are not prepared to do transitional work in their congregations; and, it's absolutely critical that churches connect serious change with their mission to the larger world.

Peter Steinke, The Christian Century, November 16, 2010


  1. How did you know this is exactly what we have been talking about at our church?! We are in the process of calling a new pastor. Everyone is eager for new leadership to move into a bright future. But that means scary change! We say we want it but can we get past the fear to make it happen? I hope so!

  2. Particularly nettlesome is defining what that fear actually is. Will a new future cost more money? Will new ministries require additional volunteers? Will turf boundaries be crossed? Will someone surface who has an authoritarian personality? Will everyone's voice still be heard? What if a vocal minority becomes upset?

    These potential fears may be among the top ten or so. My reaction, on seeing them written out, is that they're pretty wimpy fears. They don't look all that scary to me.

  3. One of my mentors in interim ministry used to counsel, "Never, never believe that your church members actually mean what they say about desiring change."