Fortress Press

The Art of Leading Change: Ten Perspectives on the Messiness of Ministry

The Art of Leading Change

Ten Perspectives on the Messiness of Ministry

Mike Bonem (Author)


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In The Art of Leading Change, author Mike Bonem asks: What is the primary distinction between the science and the art of change leadership? His answer: People! And leading people in churches and ministries is messy. The science of change leadership doesn't ignore the human element, but it tends to overlook the differences between people and the significant impact those differences have on how to best lead change. The art of leading change is all about people. We can't do the work God has called us to do without people, yet each individual--and each collection of individuals--is unique. This resource is a guide to better understand and practice the art of leading people through change.

The heart of the book describes ten perspectives on leading change. Each perspective is captured in a memorable phrase that underscores an important principle, such as "Lead with trust" and "Resisters are not the enemy." The ten perspectives are bookended by two other essential insights: "The Challenge of Leading Change" examines the contours and underlying factors that make change so difficult in ministry settings. "The Courage for Change," at the book's conclusion, explores the conviction and fortitude leaders will need for the change journey.

Leading change in a church has never been easy. It has become far more difficult as our society has become increasingly complex, fractured, and secular. Even though change is challenging, pastors and ministry leaders cannot be satisfied with maintaining the status quo. Whether you're leading from the first chair or some other role, and whether the changes you face are big or small, The Art of Leading Change will be a valuable addition to your leadership toolkit.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506485065
  • eBook ISBN 9781506485072
  • Dimensions 5.75 x 8.75
  • Pages 179
  • Publication Date July 26, 2022


"The Art of Leading Change is a tour-de-force of leadership wisdom and demonstrates why Mike Bonem is a trusted advisor to leaders all over the nation. With creativity and humility, honesty and candor, Bonem brings together decades of leadership wisdom and memorable maxims for navigating the most delicate part of the change process--the art of leading people through it. Mike's ten perspectives on the art of leading change will become as cherished to readers as Mike's own coaching is to leaders."

Todd Bolsinger, author of Tempered Resilience: How Leaders Are Formed in the Crucible of Change and Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory

"In The Art of Leading Change Mike Bonem opens leadership up as an aesthetic act. Like art, leadership is messy, each element a conversation between a tightly woven organizational culture and the brush strokes of meetings and conversations. He challenges us to dig deep and balance that by taking a step back to consider the work underway. This book offers solid advice for both the right-and left-brain leader."

Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Texas, and author of Citizen and Embodied Liturgy

"I'm not sure there is a more important book coming out of a world-wide pandemic and an intense season of political and spiritual unrest. Get ready to mark up every page. Few leadership books on change must be read by everyone in a position of influence. This one is on that list. Read it as soon as possible."

Judy West, pastor of staff & leadership development at The Crossing, St. Louis MO, and leader of WXP, an international group of Women Executive Pastors

"The need to navigate massive change is a crucial competency for spiritual leaders. Especially now with the church's critical need to move from church-as-institution to church-as-movement. I am glad that Mike Bonem has decided to distill and distribute his many practical suggestions about how this is done in The Art of Leading Change. I can't imagine a ministry team that would not be helped by processing this book together."

Reggie Mcneal, best-selling author of Kingdom Come and Kingdom Collaborators

"In The Art of Leading Change, Mike Bonem hits a brilliant balance of the complexity and potential for leading change today. He masterfully draws from the wisdom of family systems theory and organizational dynamics along with his own insights from years of experience with congregations to produce actionable guidance for navigating change. In a season that can feel overwhelming for leaders in the church, this book offers practical handholds. As I read it, I found myself feeling genuinely hopeful."

Lisa Greenwood, vice president for leadership ministry, Wesleyan Investive and Texas Methodist Foundation (TMF)

"Leading change is never easy, and it's not an option. Mike Bonem offers invaluable insights on how to better understand and practice the art of leading people through change. Throughout this book, you will find deep thought, helpful stories, biblical foundations, and perhaps some of the best wisdom and advice you can receive on leading change."

Dan Reiland, executive pastor, 12Stone Church, Lawrenceville, GA, and author of Confident Leader!

"He's done it again. I had the privilege of working with Mike on a couple of his titles while I was at Leadership Network. This new book, The Art of Leading Change, will become a staple of every leader's library, much like his earlier title, Leading from the Second Chair. Having known Mike now for over twenty years as leader of change, I can say with confidence that not only are the principles he shares accurate, but they flow from his experience of leading change so well in so many contexts. Whether you lead a church, a corporation, a nonprofit, a team, or your family, you need this book."

Greg Ligon, president, Ligon Group

"I once saw a little comic in a magazine. The top read, 'Church plant week 2.' In the picture of people sitting in church, one man is leaning sideways to say to his wife, 'That's not how they did it last week.' The point is, change resistance happens in every organization regardless of how old or young it is. So, stewarding change is a part of every leader's job description. Mike totally gets this, and he's been leading churches and organizations through seasons of change for several decades. This book brings together what he's learned in all his experience, and it does so with his trademark 'boots on the ground' wisdom. The value here is the life and ministry experience found scattered throughout the pages of this book. It is money and time well spent."

Phil Taylor, coach, consultant, author at Backstage Pastors

"Mike Bonem knows what he's talking about in ministry and in leadership. As anyone in a position of leadership knows, there are challenges. If you are a minister, you know it's not always easy. Leading as a minister can and will get messy. Fortunately, help is available and it's right here in Mike's new book. You'll be encouraged, motivated, and blessed as you read and apply the principles he shares."

David Hardage, executive director, Texas Baptists

"What an invaluable resource on leading change from someone with seasoned expertise to speak with authority on the subject. Mike Bonem has written a fabulous book with exceptionally helpful insights on the courageous artistry of leading people through ministry-related change, however messy it may be."

Leo Schuster, lead pastor, City Church Houston