Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: With my students and clients I talk about how to identify and modernize “sacred cows.” These are traditions, artifacts or sometimes even people who so embody some tradition or history that they appear unlikely to be changed. But they can be changed and modernized, only it must be done slowly and after building consensus. I explain more about how to do this in the book “Preparing for Change Reaction,” in the chapter: “Go Slow Build Consensus and Succeed.”
Here is how one of my students intuitively applied this principle (used by permission):
RE: “Sacred Cows”
I have pastored churches in most all contexts. The sacred cows spoken of are evidenced in every context.
I have discovered that the sacred cows are best sacrificed by way of a very clear strategic vision where everyone (or almost everyone) is moving in the same direction. It is then that the sacred cows are seen as a detriment to achieving the vision goals and are more easily dealt with.
To get rid of the old organ in one church, it took about 18 months to actually remove it. One of the old saints who had died before my arrival used to play it every Sunday. Her husband, who was a board member and wonderful saint himself, would place a bulletin on the organ for his deceased wife every Sunday. We never ever played the organ, however, I could not remove it physically until after the husband passed away.
Sometimes it just makes sense to leave things for a season.