When, Why, and How to Lead Effective Change: YS Idea Lab with David Grant

Jacob Eckeberger
April 19th, 2016

David Grant is a longtime youth worker with 25 years serving youth and families. He’s currently serving as the Next Gen Pastor at Irving Bible Church in Irving, Texas. With his history in youth ministry, he understands when change needs to happen and knows how to guide staff, parents, and students through the process.

If you don’t have time to watch the full interview, here are three key ideas from David that were impactful for me.

Know how you lead.

Some leaders are hesitant to change, while others might be a little too eager for it. If you know you’re more resistant to change, you might need to stretch yourself by allowing change to happen even if it makes you feel uncomfortable. If you tend to be a little too eager for change, you might need to put on the brakes to slow yourself down. When you understand where you fall on that spectrum, you’ll know a little more about the best ways to prepare yourself and your team for necessary changes.

Explain the “why” behind the change.

There are two components to any change: the what and the why. The what is made up of practical things such as moving a service from one time to another. The why is the greater impact change has on your ministry. When you can clearly communicate the why behind a change, you’re able to convince people of the future you see for your ministry.

David described how his team switched their Sunday morning high school small groups to a new time so the students could worship with the rest of their church. The why was an effort to realign youth programming with one of the greater focuses of their youth ministry: to help students feel a part of the intergenerational church. For David’s team, it took about 18 months for people to fully understand the reason behind the change. That’s a significant amount of time, but it was well worth it.

Don’t underestimate emotional attachments.

David also shared about a change his church is making to their summer camp. For years, they’ve gone to Gulf Shores and have had many great experiences there. But they felt a change was needed, so they’re looking to move their camp from the beach to the mountains. Several  students and leaders have experienced significant spiritual moments in Gulf Shores, and it’s not a simple change for them. In David’s words: “For those folks, Jesus lives in Gulf Shores.” Uprooting the camp experience from that particular setting could be emotionally challenging for them. As David and his team proceed with the change, they will work to create space for people to process those emotional attachments.

The YS Idea Labs are filmed on location at the National Youth Workers Convention. Check out more YS Idea Labs HERE.and register early for NYWC to save BIG: NYWC.COM.


JACOB ECKEBERGER is the Content Manager at Youth Specialties, an itinerant worship leader, the spouse of a church planter, and a long time volunteer youth worker. You can find him blogging about social media and digital strategy ideas at JACOBECKEBERGER.COM.


Jacob Eckeberger

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.