I read two books recently, and both had to do with the process of change. They were quite different, however. I liked one much better than the other, but both were wildly interesting.
Here’s the first one: Our Iceberg is Melting by John Kotter. It’s a little fable about some penguins who need to move. Through the fable, Kotter outlines a simple eight-step process of bringing about massive change when you want to change something. Basically, it all boils down to one word: manipulation. First, convince key leaders to completely buy into your idea with “concrete evidence.” Then, enlist others to help create a culture where this different way is significantly honored. Use influential faces, emotional speeches, grand stories and fun community events. Re-educate the teachers to uphold the new values in the classroom. Squelch the naysayers and pleasantly reinforce the new way of thinking.
It’s an altogether profound book. After reading it, I could see how Hitler rose to power so easily. Really though, when you look at how the world works, it probably does do something very close to this.
Here’s the other book: Freedom from the Religious Spirit by C. Peter Wagner. This one takes an entirely Christian perspective on change. The book is actually a series of articles by different pastors regarding demonic spirits that keep Christians in bondage to tradition. I guess the main theme was that God has a Will, a Will we will not partake of if we give into the lies of the enemy. This way of change has an entirely different strategy that includes much prayer, deliverance, repentance and an indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God. It’s a battle between light and darkness for control of our lives. Ultimately, it comes down to faith and trust in God on a spiritual level. Will we believe in the Word or vain tradition? God changes our hearts and minds when we put our faith in Him.
In comparison, both strategies work. But while Kotter’s process could conceivably be used for evil, God will always work for our good. I’ve observed that some Churches will use the secular approach when it comes to implementing new programs, new ministries or new outreaches. I wonder why.
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”—Matthew 16:18-19