In seeking to be more purposeful you are bound to face some obstacles -- in the fleshly realm and the spiritual.
The spectrum of reactions to change will vary, falling somewhere within the following range:
These are the people who have thought through and accept the change.
These are the people who have put little thought into it but readily accept the change.
These are the people who think a lot about the change and, in their thinking, all they see are red flags.
These are the people who do not have to think much about it because they know, in their minds, that it is wrong.
Resistance may come from any of these positions but the type of obstacles they present will vary greatly.
True Acceptance: You may encounter legitimate concerns from these people as they think through and pray about the change. Welcome this kind of resistance and learn from them. Their resistance will not be antagonistic but rather from genuine concern. Those who have truly accepted the change will be cooperative and demonstrate lasting commitment.
Passive Acceptance: You will encounter no resistance at all from these people. You will be tempted to wish more people were like them. The shallow process with which they accepted the change, however, will in time characterize their level of commitment unless at some point they move into true acceptance. They may start big but will undoubtedly fizzle out because they lacked ownership of the vision and purposes. As their commitment wanes you will find yourself scrambling to fill in the gaps they leave.
Skepticism: These people may raise a lot of resistance. Some concerns will be legitimate but some will be petty and unfounded. Decipher the good from the bad in what they say. They can help bring balance by causing you to think through the issues better. Don't give up on these people or get discouraged by them. Take them seriously and let them realize their importance. Once their concerns are addressed they may well move into true acceptance. At that point you will have people who are sold out to the vision and purposes.
Outright Rejection: You will receive massive resistance from these people. They may ultimately jump ship if you keep on course and will often leave a path of destruction and possibly division behind them if not brought into check early on in the process. You will find it next to impossible to change their minds. About all you can do is love them and pray for them. And, love them you must. At the same time, you cannot allow belligerent disregard to continue. You must establish godly procedures for people to express their grievances and hold to those standards. Do not, however, wait for trouble to begin to put safeguards into place. The key is to prevent resistance from becoming an insurmountable obstacle.
As you pursue the purposes of God you place yourself in opposition to the work of the enemy. He will scheme to divert your focus. He will set traps and tempt you to fall into them. Satan will be a forceful resistance but he does not have to win if we . . .
- Become Aware of Satan's schemes. -- . . . in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. (2 Cor. 2:11)
- Become Alert to Satan's traps. -- Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Pet. 5:8)
- Become Attentive to God. -- Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. (James 4:7-8a)
Order the Church Purpose Ministry Manual for more input about both fleshly and spiritual resistance, along with a one page assessment on how healthy your Church Body is in handling these kinds of conflict.Share This with Others: