change orchestrationOne essential skill leaders must have is the ability to orchestrate change effectively. Change is not optional in ministry—it’s a given. Things will change: circumstances, demographics, culture. The question is how we respond to external change and how we go about promoting positive change.

Change orchestration refers to the ability to effectively manage personal and widespread change, actively steering the process to a positive outcome. It looks at how well individuals anticipate and plan for future change, and help others to handle it well.

Great leaders throughout scripture have followed God’s lead in preparing us for changes we cannot yet see. Moses led his people out of Egypt—and it was different. The people pined for what was left behind. They rebelled, even as they followed Moses toward a new land.

Joshua led his people into the promised land—and it was not what they expected. Populated with giants, the land frightened the Israelites and they considered turning back. Joshua was faced with the task of leading forward into change.

Solomon built a temple to house the Ark of the Covenant —and worship was never the same.

Josiah rediscovered the books of the law and led his people into a past that was unfamiliar to them.

Even into the New Testament era and beyond (circumcision, dietary laws, the Sabbath), God’s leaders are called to lead people toward change—and it is usually not easy. For the most part, people resist it.

God continues to prepare us for a future that we don’t yet fully comprehend. His work is not done. We see the book of Revelation stretching out ahead of us. We are even now being prepared for change.

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. (I Cor. 15:51-53) 

How can we assess our ability to orchestrate and lead change? Try taking the Change Management Effectiveness Profile. Then if you want to work on that area, you can look at the Change Management Skill Builder Booklet or the Managing Change Coaching Guide with Storyboard.

During this series of blog entries, we’re walking through the 8 characteristics highlighted in the Leadership Effectiveness Profile. These characteristics were found through observation and research in response to the question, “What makes an effective leader?”