I often tell leaders of Children’s Ministry that change is good… and sometimes not so good. Today, I’m listening to myself (or at least I’m trying).
First: Change is good! Anything that sits around long enough, never moved or changed, never picked up and looked under, never "spruced up" if you will, is going to get stale! Dust will start to accumulate, flies will start to gather, and… well… it’s liable to start to stinking! Changing it up a bit, putting a fresh coat of paint on it, or sometimes just starting all over can be good!
I can sometimes get in a rut, get comfortable with "the way we’ve always done it," and begin to feel perfectly satisfied with "Children’s Ministry, 2nd Edition," (or 3rd Edition, or 4th Edition, or….). I like things to stay the same. The longer they remain like they were yesterday, the more comfortable I get. What concerns me about never changing is the possibility of losing the freshness, losing the excitement, and sometime even losing the fun of the "new."
Don’t get me wrong… changing for the sake of change can sometimes be a dumb move (next paragraph). But, doing the same thing year after year, just because it’s comfortable and easy for me, can be a dumb thing, too (maybe even a lazy thing???)!
Second: Change can be "not so good!" It’s been said, "Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater." For me, I think that advice means to carefully consider the changes I make. Carefully consider what’s been good, what’s worked (or not worked), what’s proven and profitable, and be careful not to throw those things out when you make needed change. While change really is inevitable, it doesn’t have to mean that all things old cannot exist with some things new. They can… and more often than not, they’ll work better together.
Sometimes change is like steering a speed boat. You can take the 90 degree turn doing 80 miles per hour and throw most everyone overboard (and even take the risk of capsizing the boat). Or, you can turn slowly, more deliberately, and insure that everyone has a successful journey. After all, what good is the boat ride if no one survives the turn? Granted, some are going to need more help with the turn than others, but aren’t people more important than programs, procedures, and processes?
Change is good. I love it when we do something new. The process can be difficult and the work can be hard. But, with the right amount of give and take, old and new, listening and explaining… it sure can be fun!
Bottom Line: We live in a fast paced and constantly changing world. Our ministries must connect to the people we’re trying to reach and reflect the times we’re trying to reach them in. Carefully consider change and the process by which your changes are made!