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If you want to change something, change your vocabulary

By Lynn Hardaway

The word “change” seems to have a built-in bias towards conflict in the minds of many people. Perhaps, because change is so constant, quick and impatient in our culture, we have a natural resistance to it. Young people seem to be immune to the problems change introduces, but senior saints can easily find themselves thinking negatively toward any and all change because they are no longer comfortable with the rapid, and seemingly thoughtless, changes occurring in the world they once understood.

This mindset affects our congregations; enough pastors have proposed a change in the church and had the idea go down in flames because the older people saw it as a threat to their way of life in the Lord.

I suggest using a different vocabulary to bring the mature saints onboard. Replace the word, “change” with the word, “improvement.”

A visionary pastor is usually far out in front of the congregation with his ideas, and can grow irritated and uncomplimentary toward sincere Christ followers who cannot see what he sees. Having led several congregations to creative solutions to problems they faced, I can tell you that ideas turn into solutions one step at a time; one “improvement” after another.

Most people are for improving things, whether it is the sound system, lighting, pews, carpet, or just about everything else you might want to “change.” Everyone realizes nothing is perfect and room for improvement exists in every area. Tell them you want to change something and you will stir up resistance; ask them to help you improve something, do your homework and give a solid presentation of the facts, and people will want to help you.


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