Note: This is a guest article by Transitional Leader and Author Len Hjalmarson* currently serving as a Transitional Pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Chilliwack BC.
We live in a time of profound disorientation. Some have called this ‘the great unraveling.’ Institutions we relied on are failing us. Millions of people have experienced radical displacement through wars, famines and droughts. And now suddenly we find the economies of the world in free-fall. To add insult to injury, our normal support systems are barely able to cope, straining under the requirement of isolation.
For churches and church leaders, the experience is not different. Our relationships are what make us a body. Yet that glue itself is tested under the solvent of these unique conditions. How do leaders lead when we can’t gather? What can we do anyway? We are definitely not equipped to lead organizations under these conditions. We find ourselves having to adapt to these times while...
“It isn't the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions.” — W. Bridges*
Change is situational and transition is the psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation (according to W. Bridges). Unless transition occurs, change will not work.
“There can be any number of changes, but unless there are transitions, nothing will be different when the dust clears.” — W. Bridges
We see this in our personal lives and in the congregations we serve.
Transition begins with an ending, moves into the neutral zone, then enters into a new beginning phase.
1. An ending
Transition begins with an ending and a letting go. Israelite's were given the opportunity to let go of Egypt as the first step in their transitional journey to the Promised Land. Their ending involved a radical event and was the intervention strategy God used to launch them on their journey...
Working with churches in transition is challenging work and requires a certain type of leadership. The season of transition is messy and filled with a wide range of emotions and experiences.
After spending a few days training some transitional leaders and hearing stories from the front line, I made a few observations and gained some fresh insights I wanted to share with you hear. Feel free to add to this conversation.
1. To learn new skills you have to get uncomfortable.
Pastors are often ill-equipped to be coach-like facilitative change management specialists. They must learn to use and strengthen new muscles. They must be aware of their learning gaps and be willing to go through the awkwardness of unlearning behaviors that get in the way of being an effective transitional pastor, leader, and coach.
It’s not easy or automatic to make the shift to a more coach-like approach to ministry. Pastors are trained to...