How Many Deacons Does it Take To Change....?


Rider and Elephant - what a picture to help us understand ourselves and how change happens (and why it doesn't).  This is the most helpful book on change I've seen in a while, and it looks like a great discussion starter for deacons (and other leaders).

Show me a deacon, and I'll show you a person with an idea about change.   Not that we talk about it much.

Deacons are change agents, or at least they WANT to be.  And some are!  But it's never easy.  

I want to tell you about a book about change that I think is unusually good - it's interesting, it's easy, it's funny, it's profound.  And it'll change how you think about change.

The book is Switch, How to Change Things When Change is Hard, by Chip and Dan Heath.   Boil it all down, say the Heaths, and change is about getting people to behave in a new way.  Borrowing from another author, Heath says our emotional side is an Elephant, and our rational side is its Rider.  Rider is the driver, but his power is tiny.  Elephant has power, but is he ever difficult to steer!

So, to bring about change, you'll need to motivate the Elephant by attending to his short-term interests, while the Rider pays attention to how to be responsible and achieve the desired long term results.  Using this basic picture, Switch delves delightfully into the dynamics of change - what blocks it, and how to achieve it.  And offers endless ideas for how to use these insights to bring about change in "real life".  

Learning how to talk the language of the Rider and the Elephant, and line up their interests and their strengths, is what you'll learn in this book.  It will stimulate fresh thinking about what's going on in Council and in the congregation. It'll open up new ways to understand and plan for change.  You can read it by yourself, and be a secret change agent, OR better yet, you can use it as a discussion guide and build a new and productive culture of change among council members.  

I've been studying it for a while, and just between you and me, it's helping me think about the process of sanctification too. Who'd have thought it?   But THAT is a change process the Spirit is leading, and learning how some of my stubbornness works has been helpful for understanding my own responsibilities in the journey.  THAT was an unexpected benefit!

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