Slow is Not Always a Virtue

You’ve heard it said, “When making changes in churches, always go slow.” I agree with that much of time.


We think slow means thorough. You can be slow and not thorough. You can move more quickly and be thorough – like a paramedic.

We think slow means we were careful. You can be slow and not careful–like an aging air-traffic controller. You can move more quickly and be careful–like a paramedic.

Often, we think slow is better because it’s the only speed we can go.

Our leadership structure (or better put in some cases,¬†bureaucracy) requires slowness. Such churches tend to make poor hires, resist change in general, and frustrate those responsible for carrying out pivotal decisions. Over time, people who have dreams and want to see things move forward stop proposing things because they don’t want to wade through a year of life-force-sucking meetings and haggling over things that are, on a scale–trivial.

Make no mistake, slow is often the best way to process change in a church. But, good leadership knows when it’s time to go slowly, and when it’s time to move quickly. It knows how to keep the innovators encouraged and listened to.

Slow in chess is good. Slow in boxing is bad. So, realize which kind of decision or process you are facing and go at the speed that is appropriate to the change or decision being made.

What decisions is your church making right now? Is slow best, or do you need to move more quickly on some of them?

Dr. Tim Spivey is Pastor of New Vintage Church in Escondido, 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 numerous websites, including:, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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