How do I get my pastor to change?

Kara Powell | Apr 27, 2011

Tomorrow I fly to the reThink Orange Conference in Atlanta. I’m a big fan of the Orange philosophy, and in honor of the conference, I am re-posting some blogs the next 3 days from my initial reading of Reggie Joiner’s “Think Orange” in December 2009. Here are some insights from a December 7, 2009 blog post on “How do I get my pastor to change?” - a question we are asked regularly at FYI…

Often when I speak or meet with youth workers and parents to discuss our research at FYI, they quickly buy into the changes that our research suggests, like moving more toward intergenerational ministry and moving from service to deeper justice. But then they ask me, How can I get my pastor to buy in?

In Think Orange, Reggie Joiner gives a good answer to this question, since he is apparently also asked this question on a regular basis. He says it boils down to the difference between principles and programs.

Most leaders trying to bring about change make the mistake of trying to get people to buy into programs. Instead, leaders should begin by getting folks to embrace principles, which are more big picture and harder to dispute. Some of these principles that Reggie finds pastors embracing are:

  • No one has more potential to influence a childs relationship with God than a parent.
  • No one has more potential to influence a parent than the church.
  • The churchs potential to influence a child dramatically increases when it partners with a parent.
  • The parents potential to influence a child dramatically increases when that parent partners with the church.

So start with these principles, or other principles that reflect the deep change youre trying to bring about. Let the programs flow from these principles organically once folks have bought into the principles.

Im going to start giving that answer now also. Thanks, Reggie!

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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