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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Guiding the church through change
by Haskins, Roger W., Jr., Ph.D., Union Institute and University, 2009, 176; 3392050
Abstract (Summary)

This study explores the meaning of an effective sequencing of the steps necessary in guiding a local church through change, with a focus on the polity of the Free Methodist family of churches. Using John P. Kotter's (1996) theoretical framework, the research investigates the process of organizational change. This study identified the influences of leadership styles, principles of organizational change across non-profit secular organizations, the various forms of ecclesiastical polity across denominations (polity refers to the ecclesiastical form of structure and governance for a denomination), the place of theology in organizational change, the relationship between power and polity, and between mission statements and organizational change. This study used qualitative research methods employing a phenomenological and heuristic perspective, structured questions prioritizing factors related to change, and field testing. Numerous themes emerged from the study using a reinforcing feedback loop and discrepancy analysis. Emerging themes included why change is necessary, why change is painful, discerning the timeless from the outdated, creating change and playing fair, the changing role and expectations of leaders, building teams and a community culture, and learning in community. These themes were congruent with the findings of other scholarly writings, suggesting the validity and credibility of the research. The results of this study provide clergy and lay leaders with a sequence to effectively guide local churches through organizational change within the family of Free Methodist churches.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Searl, Stanford J., Jr.
School: Union Institute and University
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 71/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Change, Church renewal, Heuristic, Leadership, Nonprofit, Polity, Qualitative, United Methodist
Publication Number: 3392050
ISBN: 978-1-109-57656-6
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