Leading Congregational Change

Leading Congregational Change

December 24, 2015 in Pastor's Perspective

LCongChangeSmlLeading Congregational Change was a challenging book for me. I tend to be in the “ready, fire, aim” camp—preferring to just get things started and adjust as we go—and the authors here outline a very deliberate approach to congregational change. While this approach is different from my natural style, I can see some of the advantages.

Clearly, if you want to bring deep, wide, long-lasting change rather than just get things moving, you need a deliberate process. I love the way the authors break that process down into clear steps.

The importance of the vision community really stuck out to me. Putting the right people on that team is imperative. They need to be leaders, drawn from a wide range of the church’s members. The challenge for any pastor will be to select the right people. There would be some pressure to pick popular people (who aren’t leaders), or pick people based on seniority rather than gifts or ability. Some candidates would have a difficult time thinking about the whole church rather than their own particular area or department. It seems to me that getting those people on the vision team could significantly hinder the process.

I also thought there was a lot of wisdom in having a small team take the process a long way before bringing it to the whole church. Too many cooks, too soon, spoils the broth. While the church membership clearly needs to be part of the process, the temptation is to bring them in too early, which dissipates the focus. There could easily be pressure that causes a pastor to move too fast in order to include people, when a better result would come from being more patient.

What insights would you add? What have you learned as you have led your church or organization through change?

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