Transitions can be some of the most crazy, awkward, and hurtful things in ministry. It doesn’t matter if you’re the transitioner, transitionee, or the bystanders; transitions can hurt. How can we do them better?
First, we have to make sure we understand what kind of people we’re dealing with during transitions. In his book Necessary Endings, Henry Cloud outlines three types of people: wise, foolish, and evil.
We must understand that each of these people must be addressed differently:
- Wise people: use words
- Foolish people: use limits and consequences (words only make it worse)
- Evil people: to quote a country song, “guns, money, and lawyers.”
When it comes to transitions, there are always seem to be too many divorces and not enough weddings.
I’ve always tried to model my transitions following a “wedding” paradigm so I could do it with honor. I’m going to speak from a guy’s point of view since well, I’m a guy. Here goes:
- Son = person wanting to transition
- Dad = boss, or current role
- Bride = new job, role, position, season of life
This process usually follows 4 steps:
Stage 1: ”I want to get married.”
Son turns of age. He feels it’s time for him to settle down, maybe get married. He doesn’t know who the girl (job, next season of life) is, but he is looking. Essentially the son is saying, “Dad, I think I want to get married. Would you support me?”
Stage 2: “I think I’ve found the girl.”
Son finds a prospect, isn’t sure she’s the one but he really digs her. He can’t stop thinking about her. “Dad, I think she might be the one. Would you support me?” Dad is supportive, gives advice, provides short and long-term perspective.
Stage 3. “We’re getting married.”
Son believes this is the next step. He’s done his homework and gotten to know the prospect. The confirmation is there. “Dad, she said yes! She is the one! Would you keep supporting me?
Stage 4. “It’s wedding time.”
Weddings are bittersweet; there’s a leaving and a cleaving. But it should be celebrated.
I hope this episode encourages you to see transitions in a new light.
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