How People Embrace Change

diffusion-innovationA pastor once told me a long-standing family left his church because of the new colors painted on the walls in the sanctuary. Upon further investigation I discovered a few things about the church. First, change didn’t happen often. Second, when it did happen, it was almost always a surprise. Finally, the pastor was overjoyed by the recent departure of this particular couple. It seems they played a substantial role in the first point above.

As a ministry coach it’s my job to recommend change. Nobody really asks for my input unless they see change in the mix. However, quite often we just aren’t ready for the repercussions. The fact is, properly rolling out change takes a lot of communication & time – as well as a good measure of wisdom.

In his book, Cracking Your Church’s Culture Code, Samuel Chand bottled up the ‘Diffusion of Innovations‘ theory into an easy to understand application for the local church. In essence, it summarizes the general distribution of ’embracers’ to change in your congregation. Used wisely, this information can become a valuable asset when rolling out almost any change. Enjoy.

  • Excited Embracers (2% of group)
    They are the dreamers and visionaries who are usually recognized as leaders or policymakers.
  • Early Embracers (18% of group)
    They are respected and influential, and they eagerly get on board when the concept is explained. Leaders treasure these people on their teams.
  • Middlers (60% of group)
    They feel more comfortable with the status quo, and they listen carefully to anyone who resists change. They are willing to get on board only when they are convinced that everybody else will, too.
  • Late Embracers (18% of group)
    They resist change as long as possible, offering objections all along the way. Eventually, they will go along with the majority, but with a large measure of skepticism and without any enthusiasm at all.
  • Never Embracers (2% of group)
    They are steadfastly committed to the past, and they continue to resist change long after the rest of the team is working hard to achieve success.

What does this model suggest to you regarding HOW to roll out change in the church?

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