How ahould congregations work with change?
A discussion of the relevance of organizational theoretical perspectives for change in congregations
The purpose of this article is to discuss the contribution to congregations of theoretical perspectives on change in the organizational literature. The contribution of the discussion is on the evaluation of the relevance. I discuss the relevance of planned change, lifecycle theory, external influences, power, and coincidence and conclude that organizational perspectives are relevant as long as they applies in a context sensitive manner. I suggests a bounded rational planning process for congregational development. The arguments for this is that congregations are purpose driven in a missional sense and scriptural references calls leaders to intervene and develop congregations. Congregational development is as a subject that intend to help leaders to intervene and create plans for change. Normative theology govern the overall purpose and the limitation to planning in congregations. Since humans are channeling this process, a sort of planning of change is necessary. Also, the contexts and the social dimension of congregations require leaders to develop visions, set goals, analyze the situation, plan, implement, and evaluate. The sequence order and borders are fuzzy and it is necessary for planners to go forth and back in the process, and to work under limitations of analyzing the situation and options. I suggest that the alternative perspectives on change are complementary to the planning perspective. Congregations goes through lifecycles, institutional processes, they have and develop networks, and macro processes affect them. Also by exercising power and by coincidences change are happening. Some of these mechanisms may put pressure on and create limitations for planning and development. However, to bring the knowledge from the alternative perspectives into the planning process probably increase the chance to withstand pressure or to release the forces supporting change. There are biblical consideration to be made when the alternative perspectives are used. For instance, power has to be exercised within ethical acceptable norms.
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