Seven Things I’m Learning About Change
Two years ago, I moved my family from rural Goshen, Indiana, to the suburbs of Indianapolis so I could join the staff of a local church as their student ministry pastor. This was a huge decision for my family and me. It meant moving away from close family and from friendships we had built for six years. It also meant leaving an incredible group of students and leaders we loved a lot! But we felt God moving us into something different, and we felt complete peace about our decision. Through this process, I’ve been learning about change and what it means to move from one season of ministry to another.
1) Change Is Good
Change keeps you from falling into a rut—it offers you an opportunity to reinvent yourself and keep things fresh. Change often leads to positive things for you and for your family.
2) Change Can Hurt
Change often leads to pain. Change means you must give up something in order to replace it with something different. Change means having hard conversations. I’ve learned that it’s okay to feel the hurt that can come about because of change.
3) Change Means Opportunity
With change always comes opportunity. New friends, new students, and a new location mean that you have a new opportunity to influence the world around you through the love of God. This should be energizing and exciting. God is moving in the change—it’s for his purpose and his glory.
4) Change Takes Time
The process of transitioning relationships, work, and life takes time. The comfort level between old and new can sometimes take years to balance out. During my first few days at work, the lead staff told me that it would take me a few years to get things established in the student ministry. It takes time to develop relationships, to develop trust, to let people get to know you and see your heart, and to earn the right to speak truth into their lives. When it comes to student ministry, it’s a marathon—not a sprint. This is true for you and for the students you work with.
5) Change Requires Input
Any change requires humility and an acknowledgement that you don’t have all the answers. It’s vital to learn about the DNA of your new workplace, the people you work with, and the people you lead. You need to know where they’ve been in order to lead them where they need to go. Valuing others’ input creates an atmosphere of teamwork and collaboration that’s essential for healthy organizations.
6) Change Takes Prayer
Through my transition to a new church, my family and I prayed and prayed and prayed that it would be God leading us rather than any desires of our own. We desired to have a pure heart and pure motives as we went into this decision-making process. We bathed this whole thing in prayer and gave it to God. Knowing that God holds the future helps us keep a proper perspective on life. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our lives, our families, and ourselves. But God is first, family is second, and ministry comes in third.
7) Change Is Inevitable
There are few people who have lived their entire lives with no major changes. Change is part of life. When I was five years old, my dad got rid of this hideous maroon Oldsmobile Cutlass and upgraded to a Ford Taurus. I was crushed. My dad didn’t consult me on the decision—he just made it happen. This change was devastating for my five-year-old self. Change will continue to happen throughout my life in varying levels of difficulty or impact.
I admit I’m not great at change. I like things the way they are, I like routine, and I like security and comfort just as most people do. Stepping outside of my comfort zone has allowed me to experience a new adventure and learn more about the God I serve. I can now better see how the church is the hope of the world. Change will happen in ministry. Whether it’s a change of churches, a new staff member at your current church, new leadership, new students, or a new building, change is coming! Don’t dread it—embrace it, and get ready for an incredible adventure.
Kent Bjurstrom is the pastor of student ministries at Northview Church in Carmel, IN. His desire is to see middle school and high school students enter into a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ and help them put their faith in motion. Connect with Kent Twitter & Instragram at @pastorkentb.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.