On Change – The Ferris Wheel Principle

I got to take my daughters on a Ferris Wheel for the first time over Thanksgiving. At least, it was the first one of any size.

It all started out wonderful.

The wait in line was uneventful and built anticipation. Taking our seats was also exciting.  What wasn’t well received was the incremental creep up and around the Ferris wheel during the loading phase. It scared Anna (age 8) half to death. By the time we reached the top during the loading phase she was shaking and in tears.

For fifteen minutes we tried to sit still as to not rock our car as Anna begged us, amidst tears, not to move because it scared her. She wanted off, but alas, there was no way. I told her it would be better once it started moving. She disagreed, but once the wheel started moving, it was better.

Once she came to her senses, she said, “It’s a lot better when it’s moving than when it’s just standing still.”

Some churches change like they are loading a Ferris Wheel. When there is no sense of motion, any movement shakes and scares those aboard. Many people we think are “change averse” by nature are simply “Ferris Wheel loading-phase change averse.” When the church has been stalled out for a while and pastors decide they are going to “get people off their duffs” change tends to be scarier.

One of the greatest gifts you can give your church is to create and keep a sense of movement. It reminds people God is moving among you, and it makes change more smooth in the long run–rather than a series of shakes and stutters that makes some scared and beg you to stop.

There’s a reason those who are afraid to fly hate take-off and landing. Call it the Ferris Wheel Principle.

I’m not suggesting a pace of change that is MACH-10. I’m suggesting a smooth, constant sense of movements that creates a feeling of stability amidst movement.

IV drip it or walk it.

No stutters.

No shaking the car.

Just contant, smooth movement and a good time had by all.

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Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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