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Change Is Good. But Informed Change Is Better.

Change Is Good. But Informed Change Is Better.

My neighborhood is off a highway that connects two larger highways. For the last ten years or so, there have been no stoplights on this particular road. But recently, it was decided to add a couple. This decision is a pretty significant change, and really does transform the experience of driving along this parkway. But, they've been very positively received, as best I can tell.

I’ve been pretty interested in the process that was employed to install these lights. I think there is a lot we as leaders can learn from it.

  • First, the public was informed of the change through various mediums. (City Facebook page, school e-mail list, newspaper web site, etc.) The case was made for the reason behind the lights. The reasoning was solid. The lights are a good idea, even if they do change the complexion of the road.

  • Second, the exact dates were communicated when the lights would be installed and when they would be functioning.

  • Third, the lights have been installed now for over a month . . . but they have not been turned on. The point is for people to grow accustomed to the idea of the lights before they are actually put into use.

What does this have to do with youth ministry? Glad you asked . . .

First of all, good change is good. I’ll say it again so you don’t think I made a copy error. Good change is good. Intentional, well-reasoned, logical change is a necessary aspect of maintaining a youth ministry that is effective over the long haul. (Arbitrary or superficial change almost always results in neutral or negative results.)
Good change is good. But informed change is better.

As leaders, we can learn from the traffic light process I described above.

  • First, make sure you need to make a change. Do the right work with the right group of people to evaluate and innovate. Then, come up with a plan of implementation.

  • Then, announce your suggested changes. Make your case. And have others help you.

  • Next, communicate effectively what will be changing and when.

  • Most importantly, allow for as much breathing room before the change as you possibly can.

True, some people don’t naturally like change. But when you communicate well and often, and allow them time to get used to your proposal, you’ll find implementation much more successful.

About The Author

Andy Blanks

Andy Blanks

Andy Blanks is the Publisher and Co-Founder of YM360 and Iron Hill Press. A former Marine, Andy has spent the last 17 years working in youth ministry, mostly in the field of publishing. During that time, Andy has led the development of some of the most-used Bible study curriculum and discipleship resources in the country. He has authored numerous books, Bible studies, and articles, and regularly speaks at events and conferences, both for adults and teenagers. Andy and his wife, Brendt, were married in 2000. They have four children: three girls and one boy.