Wow what a title!  Long titles are not usually my thing...but sometimes there is no short way to say something.  And guess what?  There is no short way to bring about change in the small church.

Too many pastors go into a small church with the idea that they are going to bring about many changes that will lead the congregation into the new century and remarkable growth.  That very seldom happens.  Instead, a few years and a lot of tears later, the pastor departs for "greener pastures" and the cycle starts all over for both pastor and church.

The main ingredient missing in most small church pastors as far as managing change goes is patience.  If you are going to help a church move from point A to point B you are going to have to be willing to put in the time it takes to see it through.  Have you ever seen a house get moved.  It is really something to watch!  The company comes in and over a period of time gets the house on a gigantic trailer and off they go down the highway (making everyone mad because traffic always gets stopped).  They finally arrive at the new lot and the house is eased down onto the new foundation.

Let me tell you, all of that takes a lot of planning, time, and patience.  If the movers get in a rush, the house will be damaged or the roads will not be properly cleared or any other of a number of problems can arise.  They have to go slow and many times wait for conditions to be just right.

Too often, pastors anxious for change charge ahead with their plans only to find that the congregation is not really behind them and their programs crash and burn.  Patience must be learned if any real change is ever to take place.

And by the way, just because a church is not doing things the way you prefer does not mean that what they are doing is wrong.  Your idea might not be as good as theirs and you need to take the time to find this out.  Dr. Gray Allison used to say that when you go to a new church you shouldn't try to make any changes for at least a year.  And I can tell you from experience that sometimes a year is not long enough.

I know that we live in a fast paced society.  We are used to everything happening quickly.  When I am at home along and have to cook for myself, I promise you I am going to stick something in the microwave--no way am I waiting 20 minutes for something that can be done in less than 5!

But church work is not a frozen dinner to be warmed up.  It is the work of God in the lives of His people and we must be willing to invest however much time is needed to get His work done.  God is patient with us--how can we refuse to be patient with His church?