How does change happen?
How do organizations and institutions change? How do churches change?
The world has changed dramatically—and churches have noticed! There’s no getting around it. The way we’ve done ministry in the past—strategic planning leading to lots of felt-needs-based programming—doesn’t seem to cut it anymore.
Something has to change. Exactly what needs to change is hard to pin down, partly because the specifics of what needs to change varies from church to church. (Maybe I’ll write some reflections about the what sometime soon).
What I want to look at in this post is how change begins to happen.
The Source and Soul of Change
One of the best books I’ve read about organizational change is a book titled, Surfing the edge of Chaos. Here’s what the authors say about institutional change: “…conversation is the single most important business process when the goal is to shift what people believe and how they think.” While the church isn’t a “business,” per se, the principle holds: conversation allows people to be part of the change process. To put it even more dramatically, “conversation is the source and soul of change.”