This is a six post series. I’ll add the links here for convenience.
- Change is Unavoidable
- Three Ways You Can Prepare for the Coming Change
- What To Do When the Change Tornado Has You Spinning
What To Do When the Change Tornado Has You Spinning
Change is a tornado producing, wicked Oklahoma storm. Sometimes you see it coming from a far off. Sometimes the radar lets you know it coming. Sometimes it brews up out of nowhere and rains down hail on you when you least expect it. It can shift on a dime, stop and start, and destroy your crop. Navigating life and ministry is one thing when the skies are clear. It’s another when the wind feels like it’s after you personally.
There are three things I want to accomplish in this email.
- Share with you how it feels to be in middle of such a change storm.
- Share with you some observations of how to better navigate in a change storm.
- Prepare you to move to a new communication platform with me.
I Can’t Walk Straight
The goal of coaching is to get you from where you are to where you want to go. But lately, it is much harder to see where I want to go and even harder to walk straight in that direction. I’ll be honest this experience can make me question my abilities and even the calling of God on my life.
After 15 years of pastoring the church that I started, I have three sermons left to preach. Then my family has to pick up all our churchly belongings and like Abraham and Sarah, head off in a direction we don’t yet know. I won’t have an office. I won’t get a familiar check twice a month. I won’t walk into a church on Sunday and know exactly what my role is, and neither will my family.
I talked to a friend today who went through a similar change, and he talked about how it was important to keep the family together on Sundays and “do church” together. I said, “I’m not even sure what ‘doing church’ together will even look like. Mostly it means we will sit together, and we rarely if ever do that at church.”
The aha for me is that the Point of Change isn’t September 27 when I preach my last sermon and turn in my key. The Point of Change started when I decided to turn in my two month resignation notice and the Point of Change won’t end until maybe a few months after I start working for Coach Approach Ministries full-time.
Do you see that? The Point of Change isn’t really a Point at all. It is a period of change. My confusion the last few weeks has been that I thought I was still in the “Before the Change” period. I was getting some coaching to prepare me for the change. Too late. In the storm analogy, it is too late for me to board up the windows. The rain has already started to fall.
And yet in the Period of Change, you can’t just wait it out in the basement. I have to show up at the church every day and deliver my usual duties, plus make preparations for my exit, plus have the emotional energy to comfort and assure people who are not comforted or assured by my exit!
This simple awareness that I am now in the change and no longer approaching the change has helped me understand what is going on around me. I’m not lacking in ability or calling. I’m lacking in stability due to the power of the change.
Some People Are Upset
Everyone is happy for me at the church but at the same time, some of them are downright irritated with me. Frankly, some feel abandoned. It hurts a pastor to have anyone even consider the idea that the pastor has abandoned his people. How could anyone think this?
Another friend gave me the answer. She said, “You have to realize you’ve had six months to process this change. They’ve had six weeks.” The people affected by my change have to process the change four times faster than I gave myself. That is hardly fair and so you have to expect some friction from the people you are moving away from. Remember, you caused the friction.
As I write, I notice that eighty percent of my energy through this Period of Change is focused behind me rather than in front of me. It is only natural that I want to be thinking about what’s next. But you don’t get that luxury if you want to finish well what you are leaving. It is really important to me to finish well.
I worry that I may not hit the ground running September 28, but it is not worth the loss of not finishing well on September 27. Having this awareness about the people around me has helped me understand people’s emotions and that has given me the ability to navigate through their pain and provide some comfort. They are going through a change too. Their storm brewed up on them without much notice. I at least saw mine coming.
Back to Basics
My best advice for weathering the storm of change is to make life as routine as possible. I work best when I’m able to exercise so I’ve been running three or four times a week. (Except this week. Oops.) I’ve read my daily portion of Scripture every day. I spend a little more time in prayer as I fall out of bed. We have a family huddle every Monday night and plan something fun with the family on at least a monthly basis. We eat together as a family almost every night. I take my wife out to lunch at least once a week. We took a week of vacation away even though finances will be a bit up in the air. This is the “Stuff of Life,” and it is indispensable when you are in the Period of Change.
How This Email Affects You
This is the third of a six email series. This week, I will move your email address to the Coach Approach Ministries platform. Then I will send you three more emails about change and transition from that platform. I hope that me walking you through this change over 6 weeks is a learning experience for how you can help others walk through changes in your situation.
Here is a link to these posts on Coaching Clarity and Coach Approach Ministries.
If you don’t want to move with me, please unsubscribe. No hard feelings.