Friday, May 25, 2007

A Great Article on Change in Youth Ministry

Here is a snipit of a great article written by a friend of mine in the PDYM Community, Judy Gregory...

Here's a taste:

In the coming days, however, the organizational chart for our youth ministry is going to take on a radical new look that will impact everyone. We’ll go from staffing based on program to staffing based on shape (or gifting). I’m excited about this change and, if it were possible, I’d make the official switch tomorrow. Personally, it will free me up to do some youth ministry stuff that I’ve wanted to invest myself in for a really long time. However, realistically, it will take months to make the transition. Why? Because in addition to title changes, the “way” we do youth ministry is going to change as well. It’s not just about who is in the driver’s seat - everyone in the vehicle, including staff, students and parents - will have to make a turn. The whole youth ministry will reposition itself to move in a new direction. In light of that, here are a few things we found that we need to obtain or navigate in order to lead change effectively.

1. Approval. We need to cast vision vertically by ensuring that that those above us are on board with the change.

2. Advice. We need to talk about it horizontally. Who do you know that has a “youth ministry mindset” that can provide great words of wisdom? These need to be people who live and breathe youth ministry and probably have been around the block a few more times than you. I talked about our change with a friend of mine down south. His words, “Judy this is an incredible idea on paper. In fact, I’ve wanted to move this direction for a really long time in my own youth ministry. However, I haven’t seen it work anywhere yet for one reason and one reason alone…in order for it to succeed, your youth ministry staff has to trust each other. Most youth ministries don’t have that level of trust among their staff members.” Those were great words that stuck.

3. Advance. We need to determine who needs to know and in what order. We place a high value on our leadership team. They are sharp. Long before we “officially make the change,” we wanted them to be some of the first to know, to hear their thoughts and answer their questions. It’s especially helpful since many of these are parents who have students in the ministry. They loved the idea. The only concern they had was the potential that we would move our middle school gathering from Wednesday to Sunday nights. A lot of our middle school leaders guard their Sundays for family. We love that and we’ll need to take that into consideration. In the coming days, more than likely, we’ll cast the vision for the change to parents and students at the same time. Because of the conversations that have taken place vertically, horizontally and among our leadership team, I anticipate the change to go smoothly. Most of the questions and concerns will have been voiced and addressed in the previous conversations, so we’ll come into that parent/student meeting well prepared with the vision tweaked.

What I’ve found is that most leaders love change - in fact it makes their heart beat fast. However, the majority of the rest of the world hates it. It makes their heart beat fast but for all the wrong reasons. In light of that, we need to learn to lead change effectively, with much thought and consideration. It’s one thing to crush a cone, it’s another to crush the people you love dearly.

You can find the whole article here.


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