Last week I asked everyone to look at Resurrection’s place according to the stages of organizational life identified by Ichak Adizes in his book, The Pursuit of Prime, and as referenced by Bill Easum in his materials, Strategic Strategies for Change (The Effective Church Group):

When thinking in terms of “transforming” an organization or church during each of these “stages,” there are different considerations reflection of the differences in attitude of each stage:

Formation Take as long as necessary to lay a firm foundation before launching out to the public; this includes a clarity on the mission, vision, values, and beliefs of the organization
Infancy Focus on contacting new people, developing organizational structure, be eager to walk through new windows of opportunity.
Go, Go The key is whether the “founders” believe they can do no wrong, or if they are willing to “unlearn” what no longer works and re-learn what will work from their mistakes.
Adolescence The key is dependent on the “founders” constantly casting the vision, letting go of responsibilities, and trusting a new staff to carry on the work.
Prime Constantly revisit and learn the lessons from the previous stages of organizational life.
Stability Initiate a sense of urgency over the loss of momentum and to refocus leaders on their commitment to the mission, vision, values, and beliefs of the organization.
Aristocracy Reward new ideas and not penalize people for mistakes. Reward effectiveness based on the enhancement of the mission, vision, values, and beliefs of the organization.
Recrimination The key is to focus on “what” is going wrong and “why,” as opposed to pointing fingers at “who did what.”
Bureaucracy Spend more time recovering the mission, vision, values, and beliefs of the organization and then restructure to achieve these goals.
Death Honestly assess what has taken place, what is keeping the organization from “thriving,” and be open to total transformation of all segments according to a worthwhile mission, vision, values, and beliefs.

There are many transformational models that could be used. No one model fits all situations. There are two, basic assumptions that the organization must make:

  1. Is the church in need of radical surgery? This will involve some form of discontinuous change (i.e., major shift in attitude and actions).
  2. Is the church in need of a “tune up”? This involves some form of incremental change.

The basic transformational models are:

  • TQM = Total Quality Management (Kaizen). This transformational model is built on slow, incremental change. It is needed only in the healthiest of churches or those who have had major breakthroughs and are developing quality in their new ministries. TQM could be used by churches in the first five stages of organizational life.
  • Procedure Redesign (Isolated change of one program). Procedure Redesign is the use of discontinuous design of an existing process(es), geared toward quick fixes, including problem solving measures such as budget cutting or restructuring to save money. It is usually used by churches in crises trying to “stem the storm.” If used without additional models, it is always a bad move.
  • Value Stream Re-Invention (such as changing all of the Sunday morning experiences). Discontinuous re-invention of end to end streams of ministry that deliver value to the people, often focusing on major breakthroughs of isolated parts of the church such as developing alternative worship services. This model has particular value in stages one through seven.
  • Body Redesign This is the discontinuous redesign of the fundamental structure, focusing on a new organizational structure, culture, and ministries. This is the only applicable model for stages eight through ten, while being an effective model of transformation for church in stages five through ten.
  • Strategic Visioning The continuous re-invention of the church in such a way that change is fundamental to the “body” language of the group. It consists in reviewing and re-casting a healthy mission, vision, values, and beliefs system for the congregation.

The most important strategic decisions that can be made by church leaders are:

  1. New church starts (total shut-down and relocation, or “birthing” a new church)
  2. Two or three-track churches (an established church focuses on concurrent, multiple ministries, such as “small groups,” “preschool,” “community-based service”)
  3. Church within a church (an established church allows development of ministries not managed by the church, such as “house churches”)

Note: The transformation of the mental model of a church is the hardest goal to achieve.

The following chart shows how the various models fit into the stages of development:

STAGE TQM Procedure Body Strategic Easiest Hardest
1 X     X X  
2 X     X X  
3 X     X X  
4 X     X X  
5 X n/a X X    
6   n/a X X   X
7   n/a X X   X
8   n/a X X   X
9   n/a X X   X
10   n/a X X   X


Taken from Strategic Strategies for Change by Bill Easum, The Effective Church Group

As we continue moving forward in our mission and ministry as a congregation, Resurrection may have to look one (or more) of these transformational models. Think about how YOU are going to be a part of what God is going to do here! Be in prayer that the Spirit guides our thinking and acting as God’s people on God’s mission in Jesus’ name!