Tips for Implementing Change in Small Churches

Tips for Implementing Change in Small Churches

June 8, 2011 by

There has been a lot of discussion about how to pitch change to a pastor or church leadership who is unwilling. This can be especially difficult in a small church (50-300 congregants). Churches don’t take on new things because of lack of money, limited volunteers and staff, and sometimes a lack of understanding of what benefits the change could bring.

Here are a few tips for how you can successfully implement change in small churches:

Write Out a Pitch
This way the leadership can take their time to consider it. It also does two things:

  1. It shows that you are serious about what you are proposing. Leadership of churches can get a lot of “I wants” from the congregation with a lot less follow through. Show them that you are actually invested.
  2. You can add more information about why the changes you want to happen should happen and show examples.

Don’t Show Them Expensive Examples
Small churches have little to no budget, and each ministry is often underfunded. Showing them something they can never afford is discouraging. They won’t see the “what-if”—they’ll see “what we can never do.”

Start Small
Instead of trying to change a small black and white bulletin into a colorful glossy booklet, start small. Start by re-doing the bulletin but keeping it in black and white. As the reluctant leadership starts seeing your idea take form and seeing how positively people react, they will start seeing the big picture.

Remember It’s Personal
It can be frustrating convincing people a change is needed. In established small churches, the leadership may be people who came up with the current logo or brand 25 years ago. Acting like it is bad or isn’t good enough can hurt some feelings. Instead of talking about what the old way didn’t do, try to keep the focus on what the new changes will do.

Photo by Kevin Gessner
Post By:

Jennifer Armitage

Jennifer Armitage is mom, pastor's wife, blogger, freelance writer, public relations consultant, and Director of Communications and Community Outreach for Crossroads Christian Fellowship. She specializes in low-to-no budget nonprofit and church community outreach.
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2 Responses to “Tips for Implementing Change in Small Churches”

  • Eric Peters
    June 8, 2011

    One advantage of trying to change things in a small church is the personal aspect. If the church is small, you probably have become friends with all the people there. It is a lot easier to have a good conversation about change with a friend, than having a conversation with just an acquaintance in the church. You also will probably know how to approach it individually to that person to portray the idea in the best light.

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  • Terry Reed
    June 11, 2011

    You make good points. It is esp. important not to talk bad about the old things. They may be outdated, but these people are invested in them. Too many pastors make the mistake of bad mouthing the old and find the congregation digging in their feet and singing “I shall not be moved” when if they had recognized the accomplishments of the old program first they might have received more cooperation.
    Terry Reed
    Small Church Tools

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