Change is inevitable! In the time it takes for me to type this sentence things have already changed. For one, there are 18 words on this page that didn’t exist before. Now there’s 34. I know this is an oversimplification of an important reality, but it does illustrate how no thing, and therefore nothing ever stops changing, moving, transforming, leading to an eventual ending. The good news is that change encompasses not only an end but a new beginning. Thank God for new beginnings.
It has been my experience that if you are going to lead in any way, even your own life, you have to get your head around the idea of change. For not only is change inevitable, but leading is change and change is leading. Though loosley stated, that is the core thesis of Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change.  I feel that Bridges has the right idea about change and how we face it. Most people don’t like it, and most people will do everything they can to prevent it, including going to war. Not that the book will help avoid war. However, high stakes battles are fought every day within organizations (yes the church too) and frequently it is the battle of change.
Bridge posits that even though one cannot anticipate every change, leaders can and are responsible for being leaders not only of change but through change.  I agree that this skill of leading through change can be learned. However, learning to lead in change is one thing, learning to lead through change or transition is another. When Bridges states that “Change is situational… Transition, on the other hand, is psychological,” he is exposing the great battle of change; it is a battle of the mind and the heart. The transition begins—as does the battle—when we realize that the end is imminent or even immediately upon us. 
Allow me this simple personal example. On Easter morning I love to sing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.” But many churches in my organization longer sing that song on Easter. Okay,, I get it. We are in a generational shift. It’s important to reach out to people in unique and impactful ways. And our churches are doing that and doing it well. It’s exciting. But on Easter Sunday I think the whole community of believers should sing together, “Christ the Lord is risen today, Hallelujah!” And, I’m not alone. Doesn’t my generation matter anymore?
Ah, oh! Do you hear it? Do you hear the pain of change and the stall of the transition—what Bridges refers to as being in the neutral zone?  Do you hear the focus on the end of an era and not the new beginning? And, all of a sudden I hear with new ears the voice of my parents and my grandparents and my great-grandparents, who, each in their own way processed change in the church with dignity and active participation toward a new beginning. Those leaders who can lead people through those types of changes in the church are those who will bless many and be a blessing in the thoughKingdom of God.
Bridges presents the key to leading through transition: The key is in part asking the right questions and then helping others to anwer them. One of the more significant questions is, “What can I give back to balance what has been taken away”  If a leader can help those she leads discover their part in giving back to balance what has been taken away, she will be a tranistional and even transformational leader. She will be like a Moses leading the people of Israel though the wilderness. She will be like a Paul leading the early church toward inclusion of the gentiles. It is those great leaders of the church who with dignity and strength, have lead people through difficult change to new beginnings. People don’t like endings, but they can embrase new beginnings. 
In this light, I think that Bridges is wise spending time to inform, illustrate and give advice on processing “The Seven Stages of Organizational Life.”  More tears have been shed, more people hurt, more pain has been caused and more sheep scattered by the misuderstanding and mishandliing of change and the tranistion toward a new beginning that follows. If you have been in the church any length of time, you have been impacted by this type of change.
A leader who can lead well in and through change is rare—these are the great leaders of each generation. They usually serve and walk in huminlty, because of the pain they themselves has suffered. They inturn tansform their pain into a tool to give back and balance the equation of what was lost, knowing now what can be gained. They are the unsung heros of the faith who live loosley attached to the power and material gains of this earth and remain deeply attached to Jesus. They are the “people’s” leaders and God choosen few.
1. William Bridges, Managing Transitions: Making The Most Of Change (Boston, MA: Da Capo, 2017).
2. Ibid., 107.
3. Ibid., 6-8.
4. Ibid., 23.
5. Ibid., 30-31.
6. Ibid., 23.
7. Ibid., 76-98.