Wednesdays with Women in Kidmin

14 Nov
Wednesdays with Women in Kidmin is about bringing together some of the leading 
women in children’s ministry to share their knowledge and passion. 
For us to gather and learn from each other…to sharpen each other.
As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.
Proverbs 27:17

Navigating Change

– Jenny Funderburke
I am about to do something new.
    
It is beginning to happen even now.
    
Don’t you see it coming?
Isaiah 43:19

Change is inevitable in both families and in ministry. As the woman in ministry it is likely that you will often have to navigate your family or your team through change, and sometimes both happen at the same time. This year I have experienced some high level personal change, from relocating and starting a new ministry position to unexpectedly expecting a baby. I have discovered that most principles of navigating change are similar, whether you are navigating your family or your ministry team.
1. Communicate ahead of time as possible.  I firmly believe that 90% of the work of navigating change happens before the change even happens. The way you coach your family and your team will directly impact the smoothness of transition. With my family, this has involved talking at length about what is coming, what it means, what it could look like, what the unknowns are, how it might make us feel etc… For example, as we prepared to find out the gender of our new baby, my daughters and I discussed what would happen when I went to the doctor and how they might or might not get the results they wanted. Likewise, with teams, err on the side of too much information and prep work. Try to fill in as many blanks as you can and identify the unknowns going in.
 
2. Acknowledge that everyone adjusts to change at a different pace. I had one daughter who was all in for our move to another state, but then acted out like crazy our first week here.  Some process change quietly, some act out, some get excited and some mourn for a little while. And that’s not just kids! Your ministry team is likely made of unique personalities. Your job as leader (and parent) is to guide and encourage each person through the transition.

3. Recognize that new is always uncomfortable at first. After my daughter’s first softball practice with her new team in a new league, her first response on the way home was, “I wish Coach Luke (coach from Alabama) was still my coach.” And at that moment, I really did too! But I reminded her that it didn’t feel right just because it was new and soon she would be just as comfortable with this new team. God used that six year old girl to remind me that new is not bad, it just takes getting used to. That is true in our families and in our ministry teams. People may growl a little bit at first, but change makes us uncomfortable. The good news is that it gets better!

4. Continually point towards what God is doing. The default is to see the negatives in change. Your job is to be the cheerleader and help your people see God’s hand along the way. Remind them of the big picture. When our family got sad about being in another state, we would remind each other that we know we were following God to move here and He has big things in store. We also talked about how it is ok to be sad, but we can’t dwell on it. You probably would use different language with your grown up ministry leaders, but the point is still the same!

5. Don’t take prayer for granted.  There is only so much that you can do.  You can’t change people’s hearts. You can’t bring permanent peace or acceptance of change. You are not the Holy Spirit. But God gives us direct access to Him through the Holy Spirit.  Pray for your family. Pray for your team. Pray for wisdom in navigating the change. Pray like you can’t get through without it, because truly you can’t and be all that God has called you to be!


Jenny Funderburke is the wife of Nate, her beloved computer geek, and mama to two crazy girls (with one more on the way!). She serves as Minister to Children at West Bradenton Baptist Church in Bradenton, FL and blogs at jennyfunderburke.com. She also loves the beach and ice cream, preferably at the same time.


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