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There is No Growth Without Loss

Bruce Johnson

Every now and then, if you're at all like me, you'll hear a quote where you just think, "I wish I had said that." In other words, you'll hear a statement that so clearly captures what you've thought or experienced that you just want to stand up and cheer it. "Yes!!!" "Yes!!!" "Exactly!!" Well, that happened to me yesterday.

I was on my way to BWI to catch a flight to Minneapolis for the quarterly Board of Directors meeting of the EFCA, when I heard an old Rick Warren line that so captured the essence of what we, as change agents, have to deal with all of the time that I just had to pass it along to you. So, here it is.

"There is no growth without change. No change without loss. And no loss without grief."

It doesn't matter what the change is that you want to make. Regardless of whether you want to change the structure of your church or the color of the bathroom walls. Whether you want to change up your staff team or a ministry. Whether you want to change the name of your church or the way you do church. Whether you want to change the order of service or the style of preaching. Whether you want to change the way you do pastoral care or the way you run your small groups. Whether you want to change the name of your "bulletin" or you want to change the database your church is using. Whether you want to change the way people get their announcements into your bulletin or the times when you actually have your meetings. Whether the change is big or small, if you are going to make a change, you had better be prepared—there will be some loss and there will be some grief. It is only natural (and it probably doesn't have anything to do with you). Every church (in fact, every organization) has the same thing happen to them. To create growth, you will need to make some changes and those changes Will lead to some loss and grief.

However, that does not mean that you and I should surrender to them. As leaders, our job is to lead our people somewhere. If we only do what we've already been doing, we can only get what we've already got. We are where we are because of what we've done in the past. If we could get to the next level by continuing to do what we've already done, we would be there. But we're not. Because the only way to grow is to change—and all growth involves change. However, with that change will come loss and grief. So don't be surprised by it. When it arises, just remember,

"There is no growth without change. No change without loss. And no loss without grief."

What you're experiencing as a change agent is only natural. So, don't give up. Hang in there. Because what you're fighting for is worth the fight! The advancement of God's kingdom is always worth a few scars!

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