Categories: Pastor Dave's eNote
“Our enemies were trying to frighten us and to keep us from our work. But I asked God to give me strength.” Nehemiah 6:9
Change is a part of life. In worship, we have been looking at an amazing man named Nehemiah, who converted his discontent about the state of Jerusalem into a course of action that changed his life and the future of a nation. It is important to remember we should never be sorrowful because we’re unhappy. Our unhappiness is a gift! It reminds us that we serve a living God who longs for us to experience something better. This moment of discontent can be exactly what we need to seek the power and plan of God that will move our hearts, our lives and our nation closer to God’s intention.
Change is not always easy and it is not easy to understand. Don Poland, a member of our congregation, has been leading some of the staff through a series of exercises designed to help us think more strategically about the work we do for God and the community. Last week, Don shared with us that in 1991, GE decided to undertake a detailed study of what makes change work, in the hope they would find the ‘magic formula’ that would enable the company to manage change more effectively.
Of all the changes evaluated, 100% of the successful changes were sound projects, with a solid approach and an appropriate solution to the business problem it was addressing. The team assumed when a change failed, it failed because the solution implemented was faulty or the project implementation was not executed well.
However, when they evaluated what, according to the criteria, were unsuccessful projects, they found those too were basically sound projects, with good solutions and appropriate decisions about what to implement.
This observation prompted the question: What then is the differentiating factor between successful and unsuccessful change? If it is not the implemented solution and it is not the decision-making or execution of the project, what then is it?
The answer to that question led to a formula that helped General Electric understand the nature and complexity of change. Given that the business world was changing so rapidly, GE’s understanding of the change process is what catapulted them into the future. The process they developed in early 1990’s is known today as “Change Acceleration Process” and it became the foundation of what most managers and organizational leaders refer to as “Six Sigma.” The formula is:
Q X A = E
In the formula, Q represents the Quality, or the Technical strategy employed for change. In business, it could be a product or location change, or even a change in the way business is done. The E in this formula represents the Effectiveness of that change. The A in the above formula represents the Acceptance of that change. It has to do with the culture or the context in which the change takes place. If you have a great idea for change, the math is easy. Let’s, for the sake of argument, say it’s an 8 out of 10. If the acceptance of that change is low, say a 0 or 1, then the (E) effectiveness of that change will be low. Everyone knows that 8×0=0.
Years ago, you might remember Coke wanted to capture the Pepsi market. No one ever understood why Coke wanted to be like Pepsi! Coke changed the formula and developed “New Coke.” It was a disaster, even though it was a good product. It tasted like Pepsi and for all intents and purpose Coke hit the mark with the product. But the acceptance (A) was nonexistent. It doesn’t matter how good your Q is if your A is low, then the E will be low as well.
Organizations, businesses and churches often go back to the drawing board, trying to come up with a better idea for change and progress. What they fail to realize is the real work is done by helping people come to an acceptance of the change.
Oddly enough, God has the same problem, when it comes to seeing His gracious plan unfold in our lives. God has given us an excellent opportunity for change. He has given us his Son Jesus, His Word and His Spirit. He has given us His kingdom vision for our lives and our world. He has given us access to His truth and His grace. He has given us His love and His power (Q). However, if we don’t come to a moment of acceptance (A) effective change (E) will never come into our lives.
Often, the biggest obstacle to the acceptance of change is staring right back at us in the mirror! It is our hearts not wanting to accept God’s truth and grace. Sometimes, it is our fear of something different or something unknown. And sometimes we believe we are not strong enough to overcome the resistance to positive change that is all around us.
This week in worship we are going to talk about how to overcome the obstacles for change to happen, in our hearts, homes and lives. Nehemiah knew positive change always has an enemy. As he gave himself to the work of God he met resistance. Yet, he overcame this resistance by asking and receiving God’s strength. We will discover how Nehemiah did this and how his trust of God would not let him be deterred from the change God wanted to bring to his life and the city of Jerusalem.
I look forward to seeing you in worship. Please remember the church is crowded. God is growing HMUMC because the Cross of Jesus Christ is being lifted up and the Good News of God’s Grace is being proclaimed. Remember to make room for those God is drawing to the church! The person God has drawn to sit next to you may be the very one God wants to forgive, empower and call into His kingdom.