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When Change Is Necessary

Change is the only constant in an organization. The environment is always in flux. Churches who refuse to address the changing culture are in jeopardy of becoming irrelevant. Leaders today must become change agents or interventionists in order to insure proper adjustment to the changing landscape. In certain instances, some among the leadership, as well as the members are frozen in past traditions and intervention is required to facilitate the change. The leader may be called upon to orchestrate this intervention. If you find yourself in this position, I recommend Argyris & Schön’s change model as a guide. They recommend the change agent or interventionist move the process through six phases.

  1. Mapping the problem. This includes the factors and relationships that define the problem, and the relationship with the living systems of the organization.
  2. The internalization of the map by members. Through inquiry and confrontation the interventionists work with members to develop a map for which members can accept responsibility.
  3. Test the model. This involves looking at what ‘testable predictions’ can be derived from the map – and looking to practice and history to see if the predictions stand up. If they do not, the map has to be modified.
  4. Invent solutions to the problem and simulate them to explore their possible impact.
  5. Produce the intervention. Make the change.
  6. Study the impact. This allows for the correction of errors as well as generating knowledge for future designs.


Argyris, C., & Schön, D. (1978) Organizational learning: A theory of action perspective, Reading, Mass: Addison Wesley. (pp. 220-221)