Change. Within Christian circles, we cannot separate the idea of organizational change from personal growth—and this is the primary concept behind Jim Herrington and Trisha Taylor’s book, Learning Change.
At the outset, a couple of things need to be made clear. First, this is explicitly a Christian book—this is not a general organizational work or a self-help book. It’s based on work with churches and with Christians. Second, it is a deeper academic type of book. While it is not dry, it is jam-packed and references historical and theological concepts that one should know in church leadership. They are not always explained, so you’ll have to draw on other resources.
Now, to the meat: multiple authors are utilized to provide extra viewpoints. While that results in some unevenness—I found a few chapters better than others, but would not say any of them were ‘bad,’ just that some were better—diversity of viewpoints here is helpful. We get a better-rounded look at the church as an organization through the differing experiences brought to light. And, to be honest, a touch more diversity might have added depth, but the authors are drawn from those who worked deeply through the process.
This is the strength of this book. Rather than one pastor proclaiming what he did in one church and providing it as a template, the reader is given the results of a process used several times across multiple churches. The idea, as stated, was to show how change works outward from individual transformation.
So, if you want to see an organizational shift in the church—and a church is an organization, whether we like that label or not—then you start by helping the people in the church grow into what God has called them to be. From there, a true community of Christ-followers can form and that, in turn, leads to the organizational change we need for the church to be effective.
Does it work? I think it does. It’s not a book that you can read casually, but it is worth studying through.