Rice urges pastors to be change agents for kingdom advance

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Equating the demise of Sears retailers to the church’s own resistance to change, Willy Rice said, “It is one thing to miss a business opportunity and fall behind, but it is far more tragic to miss the work of God because we are unwilling to change, to adapt, to respond to the fresh movement of God.”

He noted that “our churches are desperately in need of change and our resistance to change is one of the greatest obstacles to growth that we will face,” he said. “We are desperately in need of churches that move beyond cultural Christianity to reclaim a Great Commission movement.”

The senior pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater cited Acts 11:1-18 as he addressed the 2019 Florida Baptist Pastors’ Conference held at First Baptist Church in Orlando, Nov. 10.

Florida Baptist State Convention, Willy RiceIn that passage Peter’s vision allowed him to see that God was calling him to take the gospel to Gentiles, not just the Jewish people. That vision resulted in one of the greatest movements of God.

“When God wants to lead in a new direction, he begins to work in the hearts of the leaders of the church,” Rice said.

“Leadership is about change. Leadership is about guiding others through change to a better future.  Spiritual growth is about change. It is about transformation of character from what we are into what we could or will be by God’s grace,” Rice said.

“So, when we talk about the pastor and leading change in the church, we are indeed talking about something spiritually significant,” he said. “This is a core issue. We are change agents.”

Rice offered four principles when effectively leading people through change.

“I must be willing to change,” he said. “God must first show the leader so the leader can show the people. The vision must first change you before God can use you. Then God will use you to bring change to others.

Secondly, know that change produces conflict,” saying it is inevitable. “Progress creates tension and change. People aren’t so much afraid of change as they are fearful of loss.”

Third, a change agent must guide change through effective communication.

And finally, he said, “believe in the catalytic power of leading through change.”

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