Redeveloping the Congregation: A How To for Lasting Change

by Mary K. Sellon, Daniel P. Smith, and others. The Alban Institute, 2002.

'Redeveloping the Congregation' presents a method through which dying and declining churches can begin—with God's grace—to reverse course and experience vitality. The authors draw on the work of John Kotter (former professor of organizational behavior at Harvard) to establish an eight-step framework for congregational redevelopment:

    •identifying a felt sense of urgency
    •establishing a coalition to support and guide the change process
    •creating a compelling vision of the future
    •clearly communicating that vision to the entire organization
    •empowering people to begin living out that vision
    •recognizing and celebrating the short-term wins along the long-term journey
    •dealing with systemic resistance (conflict) and barriers (ineffective structures
    •anchoring the changes

Each task receives a full chapter that discusses how it can be accomplished. Explained in each chapter is a three-stage approach in which a "mentor" lists observations on doing that task, a "companion" reflects on personal experience of that task, and a "coach" gives a detailed approach to doing the task. Such an approach helps to make each of the eight tasks concrete, realistic, and do-able.

Congregational leaders committed to redevelopment will find this approach highly practical and effective.