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Leadership

Blog by Jeff Dunn-Rankin

My church buddies have this joke that we think is unique to our denomination, but I bet it works everywhere:

Question: How many Methodists does is take to change a light bulb?”

Answer: “Change? I don’t think so. My grandmother donated that light bulb.”

Making changes in a 2,000-year-old institution can be tricky.  If you’re 20-something, and you haven’t earned any street cred in your new church, it can be absolutely dangerous.

I get asked a lot: “How can I get them to listen to me?”

There are books and books about how to be a change agent, so I understand that this is a nuanced issue.  But here’s a place to start. It’s a simple tool that creates the kind of trust and credibility that moves you from “whiner” to “winner” in the eyes of your volunteers and the church establishment. It’s a way to change things that matter to you without getting fired.  And it will make people want to listen to you.

Step 1) Make a list of everything you want to change at your church.

Step 2) Make a list of everything that everyone else wants to change at your church.

Step 3) Highlight the things that are on both lists, and fix those first.

It might just get you a seat at the Big Kids Table.

Jeff Dunn-Rankin Vice President of Consulting
Jeff has been Director of Youth at Christ United Methodist Church in Venice, FL since 1998. He has consulted with large and small youth and children’s ministries from California to Florida and is a frequent speaker at events from the Group/Simply Convention to KidMin.
He is a regular columnist for Group Magazine, and In 2011, Jeff wrote two books,  Before You Hire a Youth Pastor and The Indispensable Youth Pastor (Group Publishing), both co-authored with YMA President & Founder, Mark DeVries.
Before beginning church ministry, Jeff was managing editor of the Charlotte Sun newspaper. Jeff is a graduate of the Sewanee: The University of the South and has a Masters in Business Administration from VanderbiltUniversity. He currently lives in Venice, Florida, with his wife Mary Lou, and two children, Matthew and Katie.

1 COMMENT

  • Delaine Zody says:

    Another suggestion: find the change agents in the church, make friends with them, tell them your ideas, listen to their ideas. I bet there will be commonality and I bet they will be willing to listen to your ideas. Too many youth workers don’t look around at the older members who, surprise, were the youth workers in their day.

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