The Marathon Effect

In his book, Managing Transitions, William Bridges refers to the “marathon effect.” Here’s how it works: In the largest marathon events, a staggered start time is used to process the multitude of runners. By the time the last group starts the race, some of the first group will already be finishing.

When your church is going through a big change, you as the leader have likely started the change long before the rest of your community. You’ve been thinking about it, planning it and talking about it. When it’s time to finally implement the change on a broad level, you’re probably looking ahead to your next challenge.

So as a leader it’s important to remember that while you’re wrapping up and getting ready to move on, your congregants may just be starting to get their heads around the new change. Part of our role as a leader is to be ahead, and another important part of our role is to come back to where our people are, to help them with that inner work of transition.

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