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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hope

In his newest book, A Door Set Open, Grounding Change in Mission and Hope, Peter Steinke notes that all congregations are facing challenges brought about by rapid change. Steinke seeks to apply family systems theory to churches in order to understand the forces that beset congregations, and to learn how to deal with them.

Steinke shares insights learned from consulting with more than 200 churches in eight denominations. In the introduction to the book, he lists fourteen responses he believes contribute to the challenge of change. The list is preceded by the comment that Steinke has found the first three to have been present in every case he has studied. Those three are quoted below. The first two of the three have intrigued and encouraged me; first one, then the second.

¨ Without mature and motivated leaders, little happens.
¨ Resistance to change is far less intense and protracted when change is made for the sake of
mission.
¨ How emotional processes are understood and handled plays a major role in outcomes.

The thing about change is that it isn’t easy. Even if the current results are poor, it seems easier to try harder doing what we have always done than it does to try some new approach. The problem is, if we keep doing what we have always done, we will get the same result. Or as you may have heard it said, “If we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always get what we’ve always got!” Trying harder at doing these things is a formula for frustration leading to feelings of failure and guilt. There has to be a better way.

But there is hope to be found in the first three items in Steinke’s list. There is hope provided by mature and motivated leaders. Fortunately in CEM we have such people. I am encouraged that resistance to change is less when done for the sake of mission, because mission is what we are about. And finally, we can all be heartened that understanding how to deal with emotional issues helps solve problems we each face in our congregations. We need to learn that too.

I began reading A Door Set Open about a month ago, but life got busy and I have had trouble getting back to finish the book. There is much food for thought here, and clearly much to learn. I think it is time I got back to reading this book, and I think I had best start again from the beginning!

Posted by Carman

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it ironic? Although we universally accept that "change" is hard to do and that resistance to change is normal, we can assert with equal assurance that if nothing ever changed we would all be clamouring for Change!

    What is the most common political campaign message we're hearing? "It's time for a change! We need a change!"

    Now what do we do with that?

    ReplyDelete