LeaderLines – from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Hillcrest Church Office
September 2, 2004

LeaderLines is a weekly “e-briefing” providing valuable information and inspiration to those who serve at Hillcrest Baptist Church.

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Here is this week's LeaderLines. . . .

“The Four Phases of Change: Denial”
by Tom Goodman

It happens to everything—every family, every business, every team, every individual and every church.

We’re talking about change.  Faced any lately?

Successfully moving a group through change means moving through four inevitable stages:  Denial, Resistance, Exploration, and Commitment.

People move through each of these stages in this order.  It’s like crossing a river.  One bank is labeled “Denial” and the other bank is labeled “Commitment.”  In between, and below the surface of the river, are the phases of “Resistance” and “Exploration.”  If you have to lead a group to change, you have to know which stage the group is working through, and you have to lead them to the next stage.  Over the next few weeks in LeaderLines, we’ll look at each stage.

The first stage is Denial.  At this stage, the individual or the group denies the need for any change.  A group may be hard at work, energetically engaged in lots of things, but the level of actual effectiveness is decreasing.  The old “tried and true” is still tried but it no longer shoots true.

This is a scary phase for anyone facing change.  Why?  Because there is no guarantee that people will move beyond it.  Sadly, they may never acknowledge the ineffectiveness of what they are doing (that’s why it’s called “denial”).  People can stay “stuck” in denial and fail to make necessary changes.

To move beyond the denial phase, people need to receive constant information concerning the reality of the situation and the ineffectiveness of current solutions.  As this information filters through the group and changes start being proposed, the group enters the second Phase of Change:  Resistance.  With patience and persistence, leaders can work a group to the next phase:  Exploration.  After people try out the changes and find out they like them (or at least don’t strongly dislike them), the group can be brought into the last phase of change:  Commitment.

What stage are you at with the groups you lead?

— Tom

Important Notes:

Welcome to Herb Ingram!  Herb has officially begun full-time at Hillcrest, and you’ll start seeing him every Sunday, too!  Welcome aboard, Herb!
New College Class is Underway!  This past Sunday we began a special six-week study for all college students.  Nine students joined Jim Siegel in a study of comparative religions, which will be very relevant for those in college studies.  The class is held in a room off the Worship Center lobby at 9:30.  Spread the word!
Does Your Neighborhood Association or Apartment Complex Have a Newsletter?  If so, please sponsor an ad in your area’s newsletter about our upcoming Purpose-Driven Life campaign.  You’ll want to contact those who publish your newsletter to find out about cost, deadline, and other details.  Then contact Patty Waldo at pkwaldo@waldos.net so she can get you the information you’ll need.
Send an E-Card!  Patty Bailey has created an attractive e-card to promote our new Sunday morning series, Movie Messages.  Send your friends an e-card at www.HillcrestAustin.org/ecard.