Transition happens: Finding your place in the midst of organizational change

Brandon Rodgers

I am in the midst of significant transition. My direct report just resigned. He was the worship pastor. We had a great relationship, yet I was a little blindsided about what happened. I am not upset about it. It is okay. Knowing what I know now, I know that God is at work in our church.

As I worked through the initial fall out, I recognized there are a few things that I knew I needed to do and also some things I did not need to do. I want to give you some thoughts as to where I am at currently, but also some tips.

1)    Don’t Hit Pause

Your role as a communicator is essential. Your capacity to lead is too vital for you to stop what you are doing. You may not have a supervisor to guide you. You may have to take a turn 180 degrees and fall under new direction. Those adjustments do not disqualify your capacity to get the things you need to get done completed. If you supervise a team of creatives, continue leading them well. Continue to create excellent content. Move forward.

2)    Lean in

You may not know all that is happening within the organization. Church members may try to write their narrative. You may feel the pressure of everything getting finished. Staff may be frustrated. Let me encourage you to trust the vision and/or mission of your church. Trust Jesus and those who are called lead the organization entirely. Respond to requests and questions with open hands.

3)    Evaluate your role

Whenever there is a transition in your department, it’s always a great time to evaluate your role. Are you happy and satisfied with what God’s called you to be? Are there tweaks in systems and processes that need to change? I’m not suggesting everything needs to change overnight. But look at what’s working well. Look at what is not working. Recognize that a transition season is a place that you can get better at what you do.

4)    Stretch yourself

In my context, there are nearly 200 volunteers that do not have a pastor leading them (they are mainly people working in the music area of our office). Many of these folks are worried and concerned. Life is still happening to them. They’re getting sick. They need prayer. They are lonely. They need community. I’ve found the last week to be some of the most fulfilling days I’ve had in what I do in a really long time. I’ve sat down with people I’ve never sat with. I have had some fantastic God-honoring conversations with people I am just really getting to know. I’ve prayed with people who need prayer and who are concerned about what’s next.

I am very busy with my own routine and schedule. It’s been a stretch to find time to have these conversations. But it has been immensely wonderful. God is at work in my own heart, and I have fallen in love with our church more.

5)    Seek God

This is the most obvious. But look at what God is doing and ask how He’s working in your own life. Depend more on the Holy Spirit. I am not a perfect Christian. But in the last week, I’ve found myself needing more of His presence. Instead of listening to podcasts (which is one of my favorite things to do), I am finding myself listening to Youversion Bible readings and worship tunes to connect with what God’s doing in the midst of our house.

6)    Don’t assume the worse

Life happens. People come and go. Don’t let the evil one tempt you to be cynical. There are some hard seasons in ministry. Recognize that transition of others may bring a hard time, but it’s not the end of the world. Also, avoid creating a narrative that’s not true because you might not know what’s entirely happening.

7)    Find ways to lead up

Your executive leadership needs your perspective. There are appropriate ways to communicate well. Provide avenues to help support the work of your lead pastor or lead the team. You are important and what you bring to the table is so imperative. Communicating what’s happening to your people is also very important. Presenting ideas and perspective that they have not considered is so valuable during a time of transition.

What I love about our tribe of communicators is that we can learn from each other and find community. Don’t live life alone and know that others are experiencing the same things you are. If you are walking through transition and need someone to talk with, please know I am available to you and want to help in any way I can.

Finally, would you pray for me as I am processing this situation? Would you pray for my church as we look to find someone to lead our church’s worship ministry? I’d greatly appreciate it!



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