Leading Major Change – A Review
I remember reading on social media somewhere (probably Facebook) regarding the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in California was relocating and changing its name. Now called Gateway Seminary, they moved their entire seminary quite a distance to a new campus and everything. Then, I didn’t really give it much thought beyond wondering why they moved, but it never really made an impact in my life, as I have been a east-coast kid most of my life.
When I saw the book Leading Major Change in Your Ministry, by Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary, my interest was peaked. Change is something that is inevitable in ministry (or any area of life), and why not see what it took for an entire seminary to move. To see the ins and outs of the why’s and how’s and who’s of the process.
With the opening lines, “I am announcing today, Golden Gate Seminary has signed an agreement to sell all seminary-owned properties in Marin County,” (p.xi), I was hooked. Dr. Iorg does an amazing job at relating such a major change, as well as other changes in various churches and ministries he’s been involved with, to every day leadership and change.
More than a book on change, Leading Major Change is a book about leadership through that change. Most of the concepts of leadership throughout this book are soaked with the Gospel and, quite frankly, are based on common sense.
“When discerning whether to initiate a major change, look for a signal event. While they are not required and do not always happen as dramatically as in these stories, they can be helpful in discovering God’s direction and timing. Signal events are helpful ways God green-lights major change.” (p.93).
And, from reading through this work, sometimes signal events are obvious, and sometimes they are not, and sometimes they just aren’t there. Prayer is always an integral role in everything we do.
My favorite section in the entire book is found on page 104, entitle in bold letters, “Leaders Must Lead”. Plain and simple. Honestly, I think Dr. Iorg could have had those three words be the entire section, as it’s something obvious, however painfully not always there within those we count as leaders. “People who lead major change admit their fears, face them, and stand strong because the mission demands it.” (p.107). That is one of the hardest things to do, in my opinion, regarding change and leadership, especially when their fears come to fruition in some way.
Ultimately, Dr. Iorg concludes that Major Change Glorifies God, and that is something we would all do well to remember. Paul’s words to the church in Corinth should always resound in our hearts and minds, “So,whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31, ESV).
In conclusion, Leading Major Change in Your Ministry by Jeff Iorg is a great book on change, leadership, and doing it all in such a way that glorifies God. I highly recommend this book to anyone in a leadership position, whether it be within the church or your work or your family (so, yea, basically everyone!).