How can I get my pastor’s attention about changes I want to make in our church?

Brad M. Griffin

I just had a great phone call with my pastor.

Josh called me in response to some questions I had emailed him, one of which involved a change in our worship services that would help us engage kids more directly. We were on the same page in about thirty seconds, then talked through some possibilities and developed an experimental plan for the next few weeks.

I'm guessing that's not always your experience with your pastor when you suggest a change. I'm guessing that not only because I've worked under several pastors whose responses would have been way different, but also because I work every day with youth workers from around the country who struggle to capture their senior pastor's attention at all, let alone work with him or her to negotiate systemic change. And of course, not all changes are equal. Some require much more time and negotiation. 

The point is not that I have an incredible pastor (though maybe that can be an encouragement to you; we know some great senior leaders out there), but to say that we at FYI know you might struggle with "leading up" in your context.

Because of that we've created a whole online toolkit called "Making Changes Stick." Today we're releasing part 7 of the 8-part series, and I'm excited to share that it's centered around the question, "How can I help my senior pastor understand that something needs to change?"

We find that most pastors aren't completely closed to change at all. They just have to continuously think about the whole congregation, and they continuously have competing voices within the congregation vying for their attention. One of our best pieces of advice for starters is to pray for your senior leaders. Sounds pretty simplistic. But how often do you truly pray for your pastor? Starting with what you know you can do might help give both direction and courage for what your next steps might be. We hope this week's toolkit episode will give you more to leverage towards those steps. 

Published Nov 27, 2012
Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Associate Director of the Fuller Youth Institute, where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, blogger, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is also the coauthor of Sticky Faith ​and Deep Justice Journeys. A native Kentucky youth pastor, Brad now lives in Southern California with his wife Missy and their three children.

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