We could all use a little transformation in our life. Whether it’s transforming from a student to a professional, single to married, from one career to another, or transforming from blasé faith to bold and adventurous faith, transformation is a necessary part of living in a changing world. Sometimes transforming is easy and other times it’s incredibly painful. But laying out the story of an intentional transformation can be incredibly helpful both to individuals and to organizations.
Nancy Duarte is an expert in helping people and organizations tell their stories. She recently discovered the five stages of transformation as she wrote a new book with Patti Sanchez entitled Illuminate. The book helps people lead transformation in their own lives and in their workplaces by working through its five stages. You can see the following five stages in most of the movies you see:
- Dream: The protagonist has a dream and wants to achieve it.
- Leap: The protagonist takes the leap and sets off toward the dream.
- Fight: The protagonist faces an epic battle or challenge and ends up going into a cave to decide weather the journey is worth the reward.
- Climb: The protagonist decides the journey is worth the reward and continues to climb the mountain.
- Arrive: The protagonist arrives at the fulfillment of the dream.
It dawned on me that the church I pastor is making its way through these very stages. Our church is 66-years-old, and as it is for many churches in a “mid-life crisis,” we stepped back to take a look at what a transition or transformation might look like. That process began when I arrived nearly four years ago:
- Dream: We sat and listened to each other about what our dreams, goals, and aspirations are as a congregation. We wrote them down. We came up with a mission statement that described those dreams: “A joyful community of the caring Christ.”
- Leap: We took the leap by making changes to our governance structure. We changed the way we planned and participated in congregational life. We created ways for grass roots activities to be easily implemented.
- Fight: Change is never easy. I wouldn’t say there were fights, but there were and are challenges as all this takes place. Our leadership group is currently “in a cave” making sure that the journey is worth the reward (hint: it always is when the Gospel is at stake).
- Climb: Climbing can be difficult. There can be growing pains. But the climb our church is embarking upon is discovering new and better ways to love and serve our immediate community. It also includes using new media to show and share the love of Jesus.
- Arrive: We haven’t arrived at all that…yet. But we make sure to celebrate small “victories” along the way. We’ve produced highly successful and fun events like an Oktoberfest, a sit-down dinner auction, and a 50’s style sock hop. A trivia night is in the plans.
A great exercise for all of us would be to sit down and map out these stages toward our own transformation, whatever we may dream it would be. Why not take the time to do that right now? It could mean a new and exciting transformation is in the works for you.
What would you saw are the steps or stages of transformation?