Organizational change


Dawn Spies D.Min.
The time between pastors can be a season of renewed focus on God’s actions in the life of a congregation. Walking through this interim time can also be colored by stress, grief, and frustration. Intentional interim ministry (IIM) provides a congregation with a trained and experienced guide to help a congregation discern God’s leading and prepare well for their next pastor. Communicating the need for and benefits of IIM to Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) associated congregations provides targeted options for congregations addressing an upcoming pastoral vacancy.

LCMC’s congregational polity and mutual accountability calls association staff and pastors to provide resources, support, and best practices for congregations entering a time of pastoral transition. An introductory presentation and facilitator training were created, taught, and evaluated with the goal of equipped intentional interim pastors to facilitate the presentation for LCMC as requested.

The facilitator training and an example of the introductory presentation were evaluated using two questionnaires. To further refine these tools, LCMC leaders with experience working with congregations in pastoral transition were invited to participate in a semi-structured interviewed. The initial training, evaluations, and interviews identified strengths in the introductory presentation where common questions were addressed, clarifying the need for and benefits of IIM, and reminding congregations that transition is a natural part of life in the church. Unaddressed questions were also identified. While the facilitator training was useful, the erroneous assumption that a brief training session for facilitators would be sufficient preparation to meet any congregations, including conflicted and anxious congregations, was identified. Overall, training pastors to facilitation an introductory presentation was successful, and a refined version of these tools could be utilized within LCMC to communicate the need for and benefits of IIM to congregations entering a time of pastoral transition.

Embracing disruption : equipping the church to embrace disruption as a catalyst for spiritual transformation

Steven Robert Magneson
In my early years as a minister, I noticed a connection between disruption and spiritual transformation. “Disruption” describes those events and circumstances that force individuals to move outside of their comfort zones, routines, or habits. These situations often lead to new perspectives that help them ask new questions about the world around them. For me, three specific instances of disruption had particular importance when I served as a young minister. These disruptions included a woman with a mental illness, a church member with a cancer diagnosis, and a friend struggling with depression. These three experiences helped me understand how to approach other disruptive circumstances and be attentive to the ways God was at work. Disruption can lead to life-changing spiritual transformations. However, not all people who experience disruption also experience transformation in a positive way. Why is this so? What is the connection between disruptive moments and an individual’s capacity for profound spiritual transformation and renewal? These questions have guided my research and my effort to determine how church leaders can equip their communities to embrace disruption as a catalyst for spiritual transformation. I began by researching how various scholars and theologians have addressed the topic of disruption. I also looked at how God often worked through disruptive moments in scripture to bring about God’s purposes in the world. This led me to start a project to help church members intentionally move towards disruptive places as a means of spiritual transformation. What I discovered, however, was that my plans would be disrupted in an unprecedented way. This project and the global pandemic of 2020 forced me to embrace my own disruptive journey. This journey would challenge me in significant ways but would lead to profound personal spiritual transformation.

The Art of Seamless Pastoral Transition: A Guide For Church Leaders

Lee D. Kricher D.Min.
A standard practice during pastoral transitions is the appointment of an Interim Pastor, who serves for months or years between permanent (“settled”) pastors. A viable alternative is Seamless Pastoral Transition, an option that is becoming more and more common across traditions. With the goal of preserving congregational continuity and momentum, Seamless Pastoral Transition eliminates the gap in time between the service of the Outgoing Pastor and Incoming Pastor. This paper presents several Seamless Pastoral Transition case studies, about half of which are from mainline denominations, and covers three virtues to embrace and six pitfalls to avoid for church leaders in transition.

Developing a Governance Transition Plan at Fisher’s Peak Community Church (SBC), Trinidad, CO

Bruce L. Knight D.Min.
Plural-elder congregationalism was the predominant form of governance practiced in New Testament churches. Elders were a specific leadership group with specific roles, who functioned in a plurality and were sustainable. This form of governance has been helpful to Southern Baptist churches. An organization will be more likely to transition from one form of governance to another successfully if a transition plan is developed before the transition is attempted. During six sessions, the project director led the project participants to develop a plan for transitioning Fisher’s Peak Community Church (SBC), Trinidad, CO, from single- to plural-elder congregationalism. The purpose of the project is to lead a group in developing a plan for transitioning FPCC to plural-elder congregationalism.

A Participatory Strength-Based Review of the Flexible Model of Training for Salvation Army Officers in the Finland and Estonia Territory

Geraldine Leah Lindholm D.Min.
In 2002, The Salvation Army in the Finland and Estonia Territory moved from a standard residential officer training model to a flexible, non-residential training model. The passing years brought changes within The Salvation Army and in the surrounding culture that impacted the new training program. Surface cracks began to show as challenges arose in a number of areas: balance, supervision, curriculum and fellowship. The need to perform a comprehensive review of the flexible training model was evident.
A participatory, strength-based review was conducted using, firstly, a focus group of five officers who shared their diverse experience of officer training. Secondly, an anonymous participant survey was sent out to all officers who had been trained in the flexible training model. Fifteen of the possible twenty-two responded, sharing their perception of the strengths and challenges of the flexible training model, and shared potential ways to make improvements. Eight important components related to a strong flexible training model were identified. These became the building blocks for a renewed flexible model of officer training through a three-year implementation plan.
This portfolio was written as a journey, weaving my personal leadership development, biblical leadership models, contemporary leadership theory, and participant action research into a celebration of leadership development within The Salvation Army in the Finland and Estonia Territory.

No Longer Servants, But Friends: Toward a Relational Approach to Spiritual Leadership Development

Rebecca J. Girrell D.Min.
No Longer Servants, but Friends: Toward a Relational Approach to Spiritual Leadership Development is a participatory action research project in which the pastor-researcher and the leadership development team (LDT) of a small United Methodist congregation worked collaboratively to shift the team’s mindset and methods from nominations to leadership development. Using a shared leadership model and tools of appreciative inquiry, the pastor-researcher encouraged the LDT to identify gaps in the church’s leadership system and brainstorm and implement possible solutions. The intervention took place during the 2019-2020 program year and was, therefore, affected by the unanticipated challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the pastor-researcher’s move to a different church. This allowed the pastor-researcher to observe the LDT’s shift in mindset and methods under the pressure of these circumstances.
The pastor-researcher observed the LDT’s process and outcomes and evaluated the members’ self-reported experiences via questionnaire, group interviews, and meeting transcripts. The key findings of the study illustrated that the LDT members experienced their process favorably, especially as evidenced by adopting the collaborative and systemic approaches they experienced in the intervention and applying these approaches to their work with other church leaders. Additionally, the study found that LDT members reported reduced anxiousness in their tasks, increased confidence in their effectiveness, and strong commitment to their shift in mindset, even in the face of the unanticipated crises. Most LDT members attributed these positive experiences to aspects of the intervention, including shared purpose, understanding of the church leadership system, collaborative leadership, and relationship with the pastor-researcher. The pastor-researcher identified opportunity for further study regarding long-term effects of such interventions and the impacts of interpersonal relationships, particularly with the pastor, on the experience and process of church leadership development.

Case Studies of Multiple Executive Staff Leadership in the Local Church

Matthew Clifton Gillum D.Min.
As the local church grows bigger, the need also arises to manage that growth
well. At the executive level of leadership in the church, the question of excellence in
leadership must be addressed. Some churches have chosen to pursue that excellence via
the means of multiple executive staff leadership in the church. This function looks like
multiple staff members who wield executive leadership ability with a direct report to the
Senior Pastor.

This dissertation examines cases of churches that utilize this structure of
multiple executive staff members. Multiple executive leadership in the local church can
be effective when these following four factors are in place: a commitment to the church’s
vision and senior leadership, clearly defined roles in the ministry team, strategic hiring of
personnel, and flexibility of administration. These four factors were present in all of the
multiple executive staff teams interviewed. While the structure is not a one-size fits all
approach, it can be a helpful way of managing and continuing growth in the local church.

Leadership Development in Grace Church: Adding Replication Culture Elements to Its Family Culture

Timothy N. Thomassian D.Min.
This project addressed the problem of the lack of a systemic approach to developing potential leaders at Grace Church as it seeks to add replication-culture elements to its existing family culture. The problem was addressed in four steps: (1) exploring biblical leadership development principles using the examples of Moses and Joshua, Jesus and Peter, and Paul’s instruction to the church leaders to “equip the saints for the work of ministry,” (Eph. 4:11-12), (2) reviewing relevant books, articles, and other sources to discover leadership development principles as they relate to replication culture, (3) conducting face-to-face interviews with three leadership development pastors at three churches with replication cultures and established leadership development systems and separate face-to-face interviews with three focus groups consisting of leaders who had been developed in the leadership development system overseen by the same leadership development pastors; and (4) proposing considerations, based on the research, that apply to Grace Church but could apply to any organization with a similar culture seeking to add replication culture elements. The researcher concluded that the replication culture element of leadership development could be effectively adopted by the family-culture church if three steps were addressed by the church elders: (1) creating a vision for leadership development, 2) committing to the systemic implementation of a leadership development strategy, and 3) modifying or eliminating areas of the family culture that hinder leadership development.

Discerning Best Practices for Multiethnic Church of Christ Mergers

Jordan T. Tatum D.Min.
This project was aimed at discovering best practices for multiethnic Church of Christ mergers. Three churches were discovered that had formed by the merger of a White Church of Christ with a Black Church of Christ. A study of the multiethnic dynamics of the early church provided the biblical and theological foundation for this project. Special attention was given to Galatians, Romans, and Ephesians, as well as the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15. The researcher discovered that the Church was multiethnic from its inception. The researcher then researched the literature concerning multiethnic churches in America, Churches of Christ, and church mergers. These three streams of literature converged in this project and based on the literature the researcher created the research instruments for this project. The researcher then traveled to the three congregations. Questionnaires were distributed at the end of Bible class times. The researcher also took field observations at these locations. Phone calls were set up to interview key leaders after these trips. The data was then coded and analyzed for trends. The following key findings for best practices in multiethnic Church of Christ mergers were discovered. Churches should pursue unity with other churches. Mergers take time and leaders must be patient. Putting together the right steering team is vital. In most mergers, only one of the two ministers will last more than five years. The eldership should reflect the diversity of the church.

Implementing The Appreciative Inquiry Approach To Revitalize The Church of Pentecost Canada

James McKeown Quainoo D.Min.
The Church of Pentecost Canada is an ethnic Pentecostal denomination with roots from Ghana. Over the last thirty years she has grown numerically, spiritually and geographically across Canada. However, the church is confronted with the need to reflect and explore how to be more relevant to the ever-changing church and Canadian culture.
This portfolio reflects the exegesis of the context of ministry of the church at McKeown Worship Centre in Toronto and the branch in Edmonton. It focuses on strengths, challenges and opportunities, philosophy of leadership, and a research project that initially began with a heightened interest towards exploring soul care and social action. The research project used a guided Appreciative Inquiry approach to enable participants to identify, design, and implement integrative initiatives. A greater awareness and urgency for more social engagements with the wider Canadian community have been created among a cross-section of church leadership. There is the need to use the principles of Appreciative Inquiry further to engage the whole church to develop more contextual and intentional strategic approaches to revitalization.
Subscribe to Organizational change