On Managing Transitions Productively
Despite their ubiquity, transitions are inherently difficult for most of us. Our church is going through a great deal of changes concurrently. To name just some of our notable transitions: two long-term ministers are leaving us and a new one coming in; moving from a two-minister church to a one-minister church; continual redefining our roles and responsibilities to each other and the wider community. And, of course, the Board is not without its transitions, including moving from Policy Governance to policy-based governance, adding four new members while saying goodbye to three members, and redefining our roles and responsibilities to each other at church and the wider community.
Managing transitions well requires careful planning of the reasonably anticipated known world, and also a leap of faith about the unknowns. In this process, it is easy to become overly comfortable with the idea of “the way things were” and overly worried about how things are going to be. I offer a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote to quell those impulses, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” A continued focus on our strengths, on the reasons to be grateful, on what lies within and how it can be transformative for those around us—that is what will get us through these transitions positively.
Through all of our changes, we remain at our core a beloved community that nourishes minds and spirits, fights injustice, and transforms our world through loving action. We have laudable values, excellent ends, and several hundred committed members driving us forward. Change may be difficult, but it is necessary, and together, we will come through our changes a more developed, more resilient entity and group of people.
Ostin M. Warren, Board President