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Circle of Change

  The Circle of Change is a general model that helps laity and clergy discern a new path for their congregation. It suggests resources for each step of the way. This is the only model I am aware of that is both postmodern in its design and non-institutional, that is, it focuses on authenticity and congregational health rather than church or denominational growth. It was developed in parallel with a similar model for Christian individuals.

  In the circle of change there is a definite order. First, one seeks to negotiate whatever transitions are necessary and heal leadership failures. Second, one diagnoses where this church fails to be as authentic as the early community seen in Acts 2:41-47. Third, the congregation must sacrificially reassign their current assets to open up opportunities for future mission and ministry. This final step inevitably leads to significant transition, which causes wise leaders to begin the circle of change anew. There is also an overlap between the steps. Church leaders who begin to ask why their church is lacking in one area of authenticity often discover a trauma that needs healed or transitional process that needs completed. Biblical images that the congregation relearns early the circle become touchstones for the later work.

  The style of Leadership needed also changes throughout the process. At the beginning of the process the local church has a greater need for outside guidance. Consultants, such as Interims Ministers and Conflict Mediators, may be necessary. In the middle of the circle, clergy and laity often need help identifying the specific signs of low spiritual passion, loss of missional vision, and weak community in their particular setting. Naming the issues, however, empowers the local church to work towards authenticity in its own unique way. The end of the process should be laity led and owned. The current pastor is one of the rabbits or assets that may need reassigned or to significantly redesign their ministry in order to help the church move into a changed future.

  Congregations of any size or denominational affiliation may utilize the change circle model. Small membership churches figure prominently in the examples sited my books. Many smaller churches now find themselves on circuits, participating in yoked parishes, or other forms of shared ministry. Resources related to these changes are linked to both step 1:Transition and step 3:Asset reassignment.

Go further: Working the Circle Backwards

Free Resources: 

Reality Check 101

Circle of Change Diagnostic Sheet

Process Outline

                Step 1:Transition

               Basic Transitional Concepts

               Conflict Resolution

               Neighborhood Transition

               Postmodern Culture

               Shared Ministry Adjustments

                 Step 2: Authenticity

               Study Acts 2:41-47

               Spiritual Passion



                Step 3: Asset Reassignment

               Identify Rabbits, Soup, and Hungry People

               Address leadership burnout

               SWOT diagram assets


What we shall be has not yet been made known, but right now we are children of God - 1 John 3:2
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