Change is inevitable. And unless a church creates healthy change in itself, it will soon become obsolete. Numerous empty or almost empty churches in Europe, America’s inner cities, and Canada bear witness to that. Ronald Heifetz, a Harvard professor and business/leadership author, is most known for a concept called adaptive change/leadership. Essentially adaptive change requires not cosmetic, familiar, or known solutions to existing problems (called technical change). Rather it requires experimentation, change of perspective, developing new values, and deep change from within. Here you can see the differences between adaptive change and technical change. In this brief post I share 3 keys to making change stick in your church.
In an article in the Harvard Business Review, Dr. Heifetz describes the three key steps British Airways took in the 1990’s that transformed it from the airline nicknamed “Bloody Awful” to “The World’s Favourite Airline.” The president at the time took the company through these three steps, applicable for churches facing change. I’ve added a question to ask yourself about each of these steps.
- They really listened to people inside and outside the organization.
- How well would those in your church say you listen?
- They saw conflict as clues, or symptoms of what needed deep change.
- What conflict currently in your church may indicate need for change?
- The leadership held up the mirror to themselves, recognizing that they embodied the changes that they needed to make in the company.
- What change do you think God is leading you to make in yourself?
As you lead your church through change, consider these three key steps and questions.
What keys have you discovered that have helped you bring healthy change?