Short Term Low Goals: A Little by Little Approach to Change

In Exodus 23:29-30 God says, “I will not drive them out before you in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little, I will drive them out before you, until you become fruitful enough to take possession of the land.” Here God shows himself to be purposeful and... Continue Reading

Circles Rather Than Pyramids: How Small Groups Increase Acceptance of Change

Here’s the situation: You have invested a vast amount of time, money and leadership capital in transitioning your Small Groups to a new sermon based curriculum and revised organizational structure. Yet, months into the change, Small Group Leaders persist in using the old curriculum and resisting the new structure. How could this resistance have been minimized or mostly avoided? Let’s... Continue Reading

The Ceremonial Approach to Leading Change

Ritual and ceremony have long been recognized in society as agents of support in times of major or disruptive change. Examples include baby dedications, graduations, marriage ceremonies, retirement recognitions and funerals. Church leaders who fail to recognize the benefits of formal and informal ceremonies are missing a key strategy for reducing the impact of change in their congregations. Ceremonializing Touches... Continue Reading

By the Inch it is a Cinch – The Incremental Approach to Change

Church history shows if you are one step ahead of the crowd you get criticized, two steps you get ostracized, three steps you get crucified. Such evidence suggests an incremental approach to change is preferred in most churches. Incremental Approach Defined Incrementalism or gradualism, is the practice of making changes or achieving goals by degrees, in stages or small steps.... Continue Reading

Pope Francis Lists 15 Sicknesses of the Church

In a December 19th post Rev. Bosco Peters reported Pope Francis received the senior officials of the departments of the Roman Curia on Monday, December 22, in their traditional exchange of Christmas greetings. In his address, Pope Francis listed 15 ailments that are temptations of both Clergy and Church. Peters quotes Pope Francis as saying, “It is good to think... Continue Reading

The North Wind Theory – Creating a Desire for Change

One of the most effective change management concepts that I have discovered is the North Wind Theory developed by the Main Event Management Corporation and taught in their Model-netics Organizational Leadership Training Course*. The North Wind Theory is the idea that resistance to a particular change can be reduced or avoided by creating a desire for the change. North Wind... Continue Reading

What Is The Change Curve And Why Should I Bother To Understand It?

One of the more useful concepts that has come out of the formal study of Organizational Change Management is the simple idea that people go through a predictable cycle as they deal with any significant change. By anticipating how people will go through any given change, a change leader can help stakeholders by giving them what they need to continue... Continue Reading

Pyrrhic Victories – A Deterrent to Lasting Change

In the early 3rd century B.C., after King Pyrrhus of Epirus again took huge casualties in defeating the Romans at the battle of Asculum, he reportedly told one person who offered congratulations, “If we are victorious in one more such battle, we will be completely ruined.” King Pyrrhus’ prophecy came true, he lost so many men and supplies at Asculum... Continue Reading

The Observer Effect On Leading Change

In 1927 German physicist, Werner Heisenberg, discovered the seeming impossibility of determining simultaneously the position and velocity of atomic particles. This was due, in part, to the fact that to make observations of the particles it became necessary to use instruments that influenced the atom, or system, being measured. In time this became known as the Principle of Uncertainty or... Continue Reading

Psychological Hydraulic Fracking – An Unpredictable Instrument of Change

Much has been written about advances in the hydraulic fracturing of rock that have made it possible to extract previously inaccessible gas and oil. Hydraulic fracturing is a process in which fractures in rocks below the earth’s surface are opened and widened by injecting liquids at high pressure. Increasingly, fracking has produced unpredictable results and is being challenged in the... Continue Reading

The Roller Coaster Effect in Leading Change

In one of the better books I’ve found on the subject of change leadership in the church, Leading Change in the Congregation [Alban Institute Publications, 1998] Gilbert Rendle writes: “Working with congregations in change is not a dispassionate proposition. While working with goals and programs of the congregation, leaders will also be confronted with emotions … It is important for... Continue Reading

Attitude Stair-Steps: Change Results From a Series of Attitudinal Changes

How do you get someone to embrace something you want them to do? For example, you want church members to participate in a capital stewardship campaign to build a new preschool building. The Attitude Stair-Steps is the concept that “action to bring about a change results from a series of attitudinal changes.” The five steps in this model developed by... Continue Reading