Like every other system, churches operate to resist change.

All systems resist change. That includes churches.

A church is a spiritual organism and an organized system. This distinction an essential characteristic of any and all churches. In addition to being the Body of Christ assembled in a locale, a church ]is also a system organized by people, run by people, and consisting of people.

A church, like every other human system, is governed by principles, policies, and purposes seen and unseen. These include values, expectations, behavioral norms, boundaries, and communication protocols. The whole thing runs on autopilot to serve two unspoken purposes: maintain the status quo and reduce anxiety.

That’s the nature of systems. It’s how they’re designed and there’s nothing you can do about it. They operate as an integrated system to preserve the status quo and ambush the unwary pastor who dares initiate change.

When implicit rules and regulations cut across the explicit, the system becomes self-serving; it hampers its God given purposes.

Pastors are shocked to discover that doling out more information or restating the mission and vision won’t change the system. A system’s resistance to change isn’t due to ignorance or lack of insight. It is due to what is unspoken and often unknown. Systems operate on autopilot to reduce anxiety and protect the status quo.

The unspoken forces that protect the system intact will not yield to your efforts to make changes simply by repeating what you’ve already said many times.

Don’t be surprised when you encounter resistance. Expect it because that’s how systems operate.

Want to know more? We suggest you read Jack Shitama’s concise little volume, Anxious Church, Anxious People: How to Lead Change in an Age of Anxiety.