How to break down the barriers to (positive) change at your church?
Most people who are involved in the activities of a church accept the undeniable fact that making decisions related to the church can be an extremely lengthy and complex process. Many stakeholders’ opinions need to be taken into account and in order to convince the committee a careful evaluation of the alternatives must be completed. Many church workers involved in the decision making process can only offer their services part time, and the larger the group of decision makers, the harder it gets. Scheduled committee meetings are practically the only setting where decisions can be taken. Here, the more topics there are that need to be addressed, the less likely a firm decision will be taken on each one, and a good proposal might be shot down simply due to the fact that there is not enough time to debate the topic.
To add to the complexity of the situation, contrast of opinion from the varying stakeholders (day-to-day workers vs higher level decision makers, often senior members of the community) means all sides can be more hesitant to embrace change. Unless agreement is unified, it may appear easier to just continue to do things the way they have been for decades. These are less than ideal circumstances for an institution that is struggling to keep up with the times. But this is what we have to work with, and we must make the best of the situation.
What can be done?
As an active member in the day-to-day running of your church, you know best how your church works and what it requires. If you see a problem in the amount of admin you have, or a discontinuity between platforms which you want to change, you are the best placed person to raise this, and explain why it is important to your church. Although it can seem like a daunting task, fighting for change at your church can be incredibly rewarding. Don’t be disheartened by the Parochial Church Council (PCC) process.
Preparation is key
If you are about to go into your PCC, it is a worthwhile exercise to find ways of reducing the time it takes for churches to make a decision on the topics that matter most. For instance, sending out an email to the relevant people prior to the meeting with key information about what you would like to discuss prepares and educates them, allowing more time for discussion when you do meet. Perhaps even organising a meeting (in person or if this is not possible, virtually) prior to your PCC with the main decision makers could help to introduce them to your ideas gradually, giving them time to come around.
Widely reading up on what you have to discuss, including knowing facts and figures, can really help your argument. In the case of ChurchDesk, perhaps doing a live demonstration of the demo, or playing one of the Webinars will help as a visual aid. Use our FAQs for PCCs to practice with. Getting transformation in the church isn’t always easy, but you’ve nothing to lose in trying.
Remember, you are the best placed person to fight for change. Your church needs you.