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All Sustainable Change is an Inside Job

Posted: February 4, 2011 by Rob Voyle

Practicing Incarnational Leadership

Christmas and Easter are the two church celebrations that the church generally does very well. What we often don't do very well is practice the incarnation in our daily ministry. What I often observe in failed change processes is a failure of the incarnation. Instead of growing the change from within the community the change is inflicted on or imposed upon people. Regardless of the intent of the person imposing the changes, such imposed changes are likely to be perceived as a violation of a person's integrity and resisted.

To ensure that our changes are likely to be accepted and sustained over time we need to join the community and from amongst the people grow changes that express the life giving-core of the community. The best way I know to join a congregation is to ask and discover what the community really values and finds life-giving. Intentionally growing these values and life-giving qualities will be perceived and welcomed as a blessing.

Jesus did not come and inflict salvation on us, he came and lived as one of us.

That God was willing to come and live as one of us in Jesus shows us God's incredible valuing and radical acceptance of humanity. From his sharing in our humanity Jesus offers us life and not just any life but abundant life as the children of God.

In the Appreciative Way we make joining people where they are the first step in all change work. It is deeply respectful and allows both the leader and community to co-create with God their desired future.

For further details on how this incarnational approach is used when working with others please see

Rob Voyle

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About the Author

Rob Voyle

Rob Voyle

The Rev. Dr. Rob Voyle is a leader in the development and use of appreciative inquiry in church and coaching settings.

Rob's Approach to Training

  • Helpful: Training must provide practical, sustainable solutions for today's challenges.
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