Communicate Change Using the Power of Momentum

It is hard to overstate the importance of communication when unveiling a new initiative or introducing change. The communication of a change is as critical as the strategic thinking behind the change. The communication of a new initiative is often as important as the initiative itself. A leadership team may have an incredible strategy, but if the communication is poor, the strategy will not be embraced. Leaders who communicate well have prepared the new initiative for momentum, while those who communicate poorly doom it to failure or a slow start.

When communicating major change or a new initiative, it is wise to communicate in waves to multiple groups of people. While the nomenclature of the different levels of leadership varies from context to context, there are typically layers of leadership in every context.

  • Start with a small group of decision makers, a core of strategic leaders who have a view of and burden for the entire organization/ministry.
  • Then communicate to the next level of leaders, often leaders of leaders, and set the pace for the entire organization/ministry.
  • Then communicate again to those leaders who serve/work to make the organization/ministry what she is.
  • Finally, communicate to the whole organization/ministry.

The communication plan can be illustrated like this:

Communicating Change

While the steps can be reduced or expanded, depending on the size of the organization or ministry, communicating in waves produces two big benefits:

 1. The message is refined.

By communicating the same message to different groups of people, the communicators are able to refine the message and the delivery of the message. They learn the questions, the struggles, and the points of excitement. They are able to listen to feedback, adjust the message, and communicate again. By the time the communication is delivered to the entire organization, those who communicate the direction have tested the language and the clarity with multiple groups of people.

 2. Ownership is expanded.

Initiatives and change efforts often fail because too few people own them. When communication occurs in waves, people are invited to “own the direction.” Leaders often bemoan low amounts “vision buy-in” among the people they lead. If the direction is sound, a lack of “buy-in” is either a credibility or a communication problem. To secure “buy-in” across multiple groups of people, leaders are wise to communicate in waves, to listen, and to ask questions. To hit the bullseye on buy-in, you will need to communicate multiple times to multiple groups. If the communication is strategic, by the time the whole organization hears of the direction, ownership has been expanded.

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Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
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