Wow, great question. And there were plenty of great answers to go along with it. Things like “because we’ve always done it that way” were the themes of many of these answers. This is a heartbreaking phrase for the leader of any organization to hear.
After reading these answers, I added my own thoughts on the matter.
The biggest roadblock to change is fear of the unknown. It rears its ugly head in all sorts of shapes and sizes and ways. If change is to happen, we have to remember that what we are up against is fear. Sometimes its helpful to name this and sometimes its more helpful to show that fear of the known is far more dangerous than the unknown.
Here’s what I mean by this – churches are often a place of comfort and a steady rock in the midst of turbulent change in society. That can be a very good thing.
However, it can also be a huge stumbling block too. Churches swing between this being healthy and harmful all the time.
Our role as church leaders is to pay attention to this swing and ask some questions – of ourselves and the church.
We should be aware of the fear of the unknown and name it when it comes. We should also be aware of the fear of the known as well – sometimes harder to identify, but it certainly exists. From my own experience, when fear of the known outweighs fear of the unknown – change happens. It’s human nature to avoid pain or move towards pleasure. Fear is painful for people.
It’s not a matter of manipulating people either. Fear exists, whether we want it to or not. Naming it is important so that people can decided which is more important and what they fell called to do about it. Without pointing it out, we fool ourselves into believing that everything is alright when in fact it is not.
It’s about being honest with ourselves, with God, with our community, and with others.