Take the Next Step: Leading Lasting Change in the Church by Lovett Weems

December 09, 2014

Pastors and other congregational leaders are eager to institute meaningful and effective change in their congregations. They know that old attitudes and perspectives prevent the church from fulfilling its mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Yet too often church advocates insist that if genuine change is to occur in the church, then everything must change. The board must be wiped clean, and new technologies, new worship styles, and even new theologies must replace what has come before.

The problem with such calls for radical change, says Lovett Weems, Jr., is that they are not true to the way that genuine and lasting change takes place. Like every other organization, churches rest on a cultural foundation of shared assumptions, values, and practices. The paradox of successful change is that this foundation is at the same time the source of resistance to change and what makes change possible.

Lasting, transformational change grows out of the congregation's current sense of its story and its mission. Transformational leaders know how to build on the church's identity, making new ministries and emphases the natural extension of what has gone before. In other words they know how to make the story of change the next chapter in the book of the congregation's life, rather than throwing the book away and trying to start over.

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