As a Leader, the Window for Change Is Closing

By Phil Cooke

If you’re a leader, you know just how hard it is to get people to change. There’s a joke in Baptist circles that if you want to plant a new church, just change the color of the carpet, and half the church will split off and start a new one.

I wrote my book Jolt! Get The Jump On A World That’s Constantly Changing for that very reason. Years ago I saw the accelerating change happening in our culture and wanted to help people position themselves to embrace those changes. During that research, I discovered that a significant number of open-heart surgery patients hate change so much that within two years, they go back to their old lifestyle – the one of created the need for the surgery in the first place. So the threat of death doesn’t even make some people change!

But since the start of the pandemic, we’ve had pounded into our heads that “There’s a new normal.” All we’ve heard on the evening news, prime time TV, and through government communication are phrases like, “During this pandemic, things are going to change,” “The future won’t be the same,” and “Get ready for change.”

As a result of that constant barrage, I believe as we emerge from the pandemic and the lockdowns, people won’t just be ready for change, they’ll expect it.

That’s why whatever you want to change, this is the moment. For instance, if you’re a pastor or church leader, it may be the order of service, your leadership team, your volunteer program, service times, the color of the sanctuary – whatever, this is the time to change it.

I also believe that eventually the opportunity will pass. For a few months now, I’ve been saying that we have a 6 month window to make these changes, and once that’s over, the window will close. People will go back to normal, and get stuck in the rut once again.

Now, that period may be down to a few months. Hopefully, we’ll have more time, but no matter what, this is the time to act. I can honestly say that you may never have this opportunity again in your lifetime.

This is the moment to make the decisions you’ve wanted to make for a long time. Some of those decisions may be difficult, but once that window is closed, they may be impossible.

Leaders: this is your moment to make big changes happen.


Phil Cooke, Ph.D. is a producer and media consultant to churches and ministries across the country. His latest book is “The Way Back: How Christians Blew Their Credibility and How We Get It Back.” Find out more at

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