Why Churches Refuse to Change

In the “real world,” change is normal, it’s expected, and it’s even celebrated! When your team wins the Super Bowl no one ever looks around and complains about the stadium being too full. When your business takes ground and expands no one ever complains about experiencing success. When a new child is born into a family no grandparent complains about having to buy more Christmas presents. Change like this is celebrated. So much so, that we go around and show pictures of our new grandchild to everyone, we leverage the success of our business, and we buy t-shirts and other paraphernalia from the winning football team.

In the church it’s different. Even if it means growing, reaching more people, planting a new church, taking a risk, or even simply making the right change so that the church can be more effective with it’s mission; most churches avoid change like the plague. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Avoiding the Brutal Facts

Most churches would rather avoid reality by ignoring it, or explaining it away than dealing with it head on. Dealing with it would mean having to take ownership and responsibility.

2. Trapped by Past Practices

Many churches have been doing the same things methodologically for so long that people have fallen in love with methods instead of the message. What worked years ago in reaching people now works to keep people. And changing things up to reach new people creates fear in the hearts of many leaders about who they might lose instead of excitement about who they may reach.

3. Unclear about Next Steps

Some churches want to change. They want to move forward, they want to reach new people with the Gospel. They just don’t know what to do next. If this is you I’d like to encourage you to check out the Ministry Health Assessment that we offer at the Unstuck Group. We can help you understand your current reality and identify next steps.

4. Leadership Lacks Courage

The tough thing about leadership is that eventually you have to lead. It takes real courage to receive criticism (some of it fanatical) and keep moving in the direction the Lord has asked you to go.

5. The Weekend Happens…well…Every Weekend

It’s the tyranny of the urgent. It’s hard to rebuild a plane while it’s in flight. You can’t just shut the church down while you work on it. You’ve got to learn to be an incessant tinkerer. Consistently improving things as you go. While it’s difficult to take energy away from the weekend, you’ve got to figure out how to spend time working on your work (organizational health) and still get the weekends done.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about why churches refuse to change! Leave a comment!

Posted in Leadership

One Response to “Why Churches Refuse to Change”

  1. Justin November 25, 2013 at 7:23 am #

    Hey Paul,

    Our (100 year old, southern Baptist) church recently went through a huge transformation over the past few years. Our Pastor walks through this transformation in his doctoral dissertation. It’s long, but you can skim though the table of contents and read the parts that interest you. It’s actually a pretty interesting read. I’ve pasted the link below.


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