It’s not so true that people resist change as it is more that they resist change they FEEL they don’t need to make.
If I said “Let’s go outside” you might say “Why? It feels more comfortable inside.” But if I say “The house is on fire.” you wouldn’t be resistant. You would make the necessary change. Right?
Often, congregants want the new pastor to wait a couple of years before making changes on the premise of ‘People need to know you better.’
I worked for some years in the medical field with my Bachelors of Science in CardioPulmonary. I learned some comparative analogies of the human body to the Body of Christ. So then a simple question… What if you started to see a new doctor and he told you “No matter what condition you have, I’m going to wait 2-3 yrs before making any significant change in your plan of care. Let’s treat whatever you have very mildly until we get to know each other better.”
Would you like that? No! If it’s a serious condition you would want faster action. Right?
Some pastors see where things are moving (or not moving) and what needs to be done, and ‘paint a picture’ of the dilemma for their church to understand and are often criticized for it, even mistreated because ‘it’s too fast’.
If it’s ignorance, pastors and other leadership need to paint the picture as vividly as possible and often so people will grasp where the future is going.
If it’s a resistant rebellious heart, unfortunately, you can show them the house is on fire and some will just not believe you nor leave the building. In that case, you can struggle and burn with them, or leave. Jesus went to his hometown, Nazareth. The account stated that he could do few miracles there because the people didn’t believe. The truth is that some will not believe and accept change no matter what you do. You may need to do what Jesus did. Move on.
Not all churches are in the same situation; some can be treated gently over time, while others are in critical care or the ER (or to connect to the previous ‘house’ analogy figuratively speaking…some churches are on fire and in danger of dying, closing their doors!) needing quick invasive action to bring about better church health.
I beg people to please don’t resist change because it’s uncomfortable…you don’t like it…it’s too fast for you or because the pastor doesn’t know you well enough yet. And don’t mistreat the pastor God has sent to help your church. He’s trying bring about better ‘health’ based on what he sees that congregants may not.(I say this tongue-in-cheek as I know some pastors who won’t lead change, as well.)
But try to listen. Be forward-thinking and seek to understand the generations that follow.
“O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!”
Deuteronomy 32:29 KJV
“And of the men of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times(that is, they discerned the changing times of their society), and knew what Israel ought to do;…”
1 Chronicles 12:32 KJV