How Do YOU Respond to Change?

Today's guest blogger is Ellen Castillo. Ellen founded Word of Hope Ministries, a mentoring and discipleship ministry for women. You can read more of Ellen's writing and find out more about her excellent ministry here

My church just voted in a new pastor. (I wrote about our former pastor’s retirement HERE.) Since the recent vote (which was very close to unanimous) I have been pondering how the body of Christ handles change and new seasons. These four responses to change come to mind when uncertainty is looming:

  1. Some will freak out.  Some people simply do not like change. Why? Often it is a sense of a loss of control. Sometimes it is excessive worry and a distrust of people and God. Some will be angry because they did not get what they desired - their agenda did not win. 
  2. Some will flee.  Some will simply choose to run. Some will run physically as they leave for what they perceive to be safer shelter. Others will run emotionally as they avoid what is going on and avoid getting involved.
  3. Some will follow.  Some will passively just go with the flow. Maybe they are disinterested but most often they have adopted a “wait and see” attitude. Perhaps they need proof that this was the right move, so they sit and watch.
  4. Some will facilitate. Some will become proactive regardless of their feelings and opinions. They will assist leaders in the adjustment process, and they will lead others in that same direction. They push aside their own agenda, and purpose towards unity. 

Apply these same four responses to your personal life and any changes God may be bringing your way, whether it is getting a new pastor or something else in your circumstances. Are you freaking outfleeingfollowing? Orfacilitating?

The way that a church body responds to change in the church is a matter of the church’s COLLECTIVE hearts. In other words, to navigate the new fresh waters will require unity - unity with one-another.

The way that you personally respond to change is a matter of YOUR heart. Navigating the new fresh waters requires unity - your unity with Christ as you submit to His leadership.

Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Ephesians 4:16 “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

John 17:23 “I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

Ask The Lord to search your heart and reveal to you anything about your thoughts, beliefs, and desires (which are the core of your heart, everything about you that is immaterial) that are causing you to freak out, flee, or follow. Ask Him to empower you by His Spirit to be a facilitator in the change process. In order to examine those things that prevent you from being a facilitator, ask yourself some good questions. Good questions draw out the heart! For example:

What am I afraid of?

What do I want that I am not getting?

What is the worst thing that could happen?

What do I put my trust in?

What do I hope for?

What am I worried about?

What are my thoughts towards about this situation revealing about me?

What are my beliefs about this situation revealing about me?

What are my desires in this situation revealing about me?


That list will get you started. When God reveals sin in your heart, repent and receive His grace. When we repent and receive forgiveness, unity (ours with God) is restored.

Imagine a church full of repentant people - people asking themselves and each other good heart-provoking questions for the purpose of unity with Christ, and then unity with one another! It starts in our individual hearts, and only then can our collective hearts exist in unity. Unity will provoke a healthy response to change as we become facilitators who have stopped freaking outfleeing, and following!

As facilitators, we can embrace change with excitement, anticipation, and hope!

Isaiah 43:19 “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”