When I took over the high school ministry at my church I immediately made changes to the preparation process for the Sacrament of Confirmation. It was a check-list item that most teens felt forced to do and parents felt like they had to have their child confirmed. Many saw it as a certification to their faith, instead of a process to grow deeper in one’s relationship with Christ. A paradigm shift needed to happen. Changes were made to the curriculum, the format and our expectations. At first it was brutal creating this shift in culture; however, 7 years later we’re hearing awesome life changing stories.
When it comes to any paradigm shifts in your ministry you will have to anticipate push back and resistance. A paradigm shift means change and everyone embraces change differently. To make the transition of a paradigm shift as smooth as possible you need to:
- Start Small: Paradigm shifts can be overwhelming. To accomplish a massive change you need to break it down into bite size pieces. Start out by writing out a few small achievable goals. When you accomplish them, create bigger ones. Use the momentum of your small achievements to take on the big challenges.
- Build A Solid Team: You need people who are going to support and challenge you. Paradigm shifts can create a lot of strain and distractions in your personal and professional life. Surround yourself with people who will keep you focused on the task at hand; yet, help you when your priorities are misaligned.
- Embrace Persistence: Paradigm shifts will require you to be persistent in the new systems and structures you are creating. For example when you recruit volunteers you need to repeatedly offer the invitation. To build a crowd you need to advertise through a variety of mediums. To work out the kinks on a program you need to run through the motions a few times. Don’t give up after once.
- Remember The Journey: Creating paradigm shifts in your ministry will take time. That means embracing patience, giving your worries over to God and taking it one step at a time. To bring others along for the journey make sure you are constantly communicating the vision and why this change needs to happen.
- Engag The Risks: The reason you might not see change take place is because you fear the consequences. In any paradigm shift there will be failure and mistakes; however, embrace the opportunity to learn and grow. Surround yourself with people who will help you calculate the risks and pick you up if you do fall along the way.
When you engage in paradigm shifts you are changing a system that defines your ministry. Make sure you gain support your pastor, coworkers and the volunteers on your team. The key to a successful paradigm shift is the momentum you build. Give the process over to God, surround yourself with wisdom, focus on the vision and watch the culture around you change.
What steps would you add to creating a successful paradigm shift? Are there any you disagree with?