Creating Space for Change

In Leading Change in the Congregation, author Gilbert Rendle explains what he calls the emotional roller coaster cycle of change.

He points out that folks usually respond to impending change with some initial level of excitement and determination. Whether we’re buying a car or losing a job, at the outset we often recognize opportunity or at least start planning ways to make the best of things. The emotional energy ticks upward a bit before it slopes downward in the classic roller coaster plunge.

The downward slide can include shock, mourning, anxiety, detachment, and anger. We begin to feel the discomfort of change without yet enjoying the positive ends we promised ourselves. We dwell in the trench before we begin climbing the next upward slope into hope, enthusiasm, and renewed action.

Rendle says we miss the point if we respond to downward plunge emotional needs with reasons and explanations. People on the downward slope aren’t looking for hope and enthusiasm and reason. Instead, we need to recognize and live through the emotional pain and meet people where they are rather than where we think they should be.

As we consider new things at Peoples, like exploring different worship mode or responding to recommendations from our Religious Education Taskforce, we need to create space in our community where folks can recognize their uncertainty and receive support.

It’s a tricky proposition since we’re all at different places in our emotional journeys. So I invite you to tell me: what are some ways we can create space in our community not just for hope and joy, but also for doubt? What would it look like for Peoples Church to provide space to dwell together with our loved ones in the trench?