Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Kurtley Knight, DMin
Ken Van Vliet, DMin
MaryKate Morse, PhD
It is difficult for leaders at large churches to make changes to their ministry models. As culture rapidly evolves, large, attractional churches look to adapt their approach to reaching the unchurched. Attendance and participation in large churches continues to decline, despite the breadth of suggestions for what and how to change. These suggestions for change are often top-down, leader-centric, and rarely grounded in the academic research about change management. This paper seeks to address a comprehensive model for leading adaptive changes at large, established churches. Chapter One describes the problem, describing trends in cultural change and the impact on church participation.
Chapter Two describes the theological foundation for change. There are four biblical perspectives of change, the last of which transforms a preexisting reality into something new. This transformational approach is on display through the leadership of Moses’ successor Joshua and Jesus’ brother James, both of whom take a preexisting missional community into a new season.
Chapter Three explores the best practices of change management as described in the academic research. The research of two primary voices are compared, as are several secondary and alternative perspectives.
Chapters Four and Five describe a four-part framework for change within large organizations: narrative discovery and role clarity (Four), and organizational structures and vital measurables (Five). Chapter Six applies the principles in the above to the specific ministry context of large, established churches.
Johnson, Beau J., "Why We Fail to Enact the Change We Need: A Framework for Adaptive Change at Large Churches" (2020). Seminary Doctoral Programs. 399.