This project was an effort to respond to the specific leadership needs of the Fort Gibson Church of Christ through effective ministry that enriches and strengthens the church. The ministry context described in Chapter I reflects the leadership issues and needs which the project attempted to address.
An effective ministry project must be informed by and conform to organizational change theory. After the problem is identified and defined through an understanding of the ministry context, and the theoretical and theological bases have been researched, successful intervention must create a readiness for change through matching proposed changes with the problem, articulating the plan, facilitating the change, and reinforcing the new equilibrium. Oversights in any of these steps, especially in the last area, will threaten the permanency of the change.
This project was a practical theological enterprise incorporating, implementing, and integrating theories, resources, and related disciplines to accomplish the ministry objective. The project sought to increase cohesion in the church leadership team by developing and facilitating a relational-experiential team building model using mutual self-discovery and self-disclosure exercises. The model was not primarily designed to impart information or to develop skills. The elders of the church agreed that the training would be made available to all men in the formal leadership structure--elders, deacons, and ministers--who were willing to participate in the project, and that they (the elders) would encourage participation. The project was designed to increase cohesion, readiness levels in the leadership, confidence, and satisfaction as a result of the team building seminar. When the seminar was completed, postassessments were used to examine the relationships between these factors, to evaluate the impact of the project, and to inform and refine future ministry and team building seminars. The primary objective of the study, increased cohesion, was not announced in advance in an effort to avoid prejudicing the results of the project.
The team building training modules also model and teach effective leadership and ministry in a context of mutuality, but these effects were not measured for two reasons. First, the training design was not didactic but relational. Second, the complexity of a valid quantitative measurement of changes in leadership effectiveness is beyond the scope of this project. The exit interviews do inquire concerning self-perceptions of increased leadership effectiveness.
The following instruments were used in the project:
The project used instruments for two purposes. The Team-Review Survey (TRS) and Readiness Rating Scaleinstrument (RS) were used evaluatively to provide an initial profile for each individual (TRS and RS) and for the group (TRS). The same instruments were administered as a posttest to quantitatively measure changes in self-perceptions of the team and changes in leadership readiness levels.
Because The Team-Review Survey allows each participant to compare individual results with the team average, the original project design planned to interpret those results in detail in the first module. However, since the instrument was also to be used in postassessment, wisdom suggested the elimination of detailed analysis from the first module. In the shortened treatment, the results were presented and participants were encouraged to compare their perceptions with those of the team (see transparency #10 in Appendix B).
Having fewer materials for the first module made the training less hurried and more casual. This was beneficial for two reasons. First, because change cannot be forced, the change agent must be realistic about time constraints and expectations. A seminar such as this can be packed with information and activities, but should not seem forced. Second, since the seminar packaged so much in a small amount of time, discussion time was limited, and fewer materials allowed more discussion.
The Situational Leadership instruments (RS and LEAD), Parker Team Player Survey, and Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument were used for self-discovery and team building in the model. The Situational Leadership LEAD materials focus how different leadership types contribute to the team and are easily correlated with the Readiness Scale. In the presentation of the seminar, this material also served as a "bridge" (using Kormanski's correlative study) from the brief introduction which set forth basic group development (Tuckman) and team building models. The Parker Team Player Survey provides a method for understanding both self and the uniqueness of the team. Understanding conflict resolution modes focuses differences in individuals and suggests how each contributes to the leadership team.
Model Overview: Developing An Interactive Team Building Model
The training content and interaction used in the project model were designed with the objectives and desired benefits of the project in view. The goal of increased leadership cohesiveness informed the nature and type of training. Cohesion has a cognitive base in that it depends upon one's perceptions, but is to an even greater extent socially based--developed by one's experience in relationship and interactions with others.
Because self-discovery is vital to any change, the training model was designed (1) to increase awareness of both the problem and the resources available to assist with solutions, (2) to increase acceptance of (and thus lower resistance to) change, (3) to reframe the problem to allow the creation or discovery of new realities, i.e. in leadership styles, personality differences, and conflict resolution modes, (4) to encourage acceptance of these new realities, and (5) to facilitate transition to and implementation of increased team activity in planning and managing. Self-discovery is also the first step toward establishing a group identity which reflects both unity and diversion.
The church context in which the project was undertaken was ready for intervention because of the typical progression of decline, transformation, transition, and development set forth by Levy and Merry.
The test instruments were selected and their use planned according to their anticipated impact on the leadership team and their importance and usefulness in building group cohesiveness. The value of individual self- discovery and self-disclosure in a context of mutuality as a part of experiential-relational change was also considered. Some of the instruments used in the project do not directly build cohesiveness, but their administration and interpretation in a group setting helps participants develop a new social reality and establish new points of identity. Team building literature and the dynamics of group interaction suggest that an enhancement-empowerment training model coupled with interactive training, even in didactic applications, may be valuable in team building. The model employed in this project is not primarily didactic nor oriented toward skill development, but is purposefully designed to enhance relationships and to empower through increased confidence. The model serendipitously teaches effective interaction and thus equips for more effective ministry. This approach has the additional advantage of introducing new concepts and approaches concerning leadership in older, more familiar, more acceptable forms.
Philosophy of Change
The project developed a team building model which is oriented primarily to experiential change, and secondarily to role (relational) change, with elements of rational and behavioral change also present. Cognitive change methods were purposefully suppressed. An initial "blind evaluation" using both observational measurements and introspective, subjective self-measurements of the team at work prior to the ministry intervention provided a baseline from which to measure changes.
The objectives of the project should be distinguished from the objectives of the training model, although they are similar. The primary objectives of the project are (1) to develop a process to build leadership team cohesiveness, (2) to implement the model to build team cohesiveness, and (3) to model and to equip for team ministry.
The literature suggests that reflection upon leadership identity issues (individually or collectively), mutual understanding by team members of individual similarities and differences, and understanding of the leadership team's unique character with both strengths and weaknesses may serve to help create a workable agenda, to identify effective strategies, and to establish meaningful priorities for the future.
The specific objectives of the project may be summarized as follows:
The primary goal of the model was to build leadership team cohesiveness. This was accomplished through the following objectives:
In contexts where team concepts are virtually unknown, as in many leadership systems in churches of Christ, the model proposes a method whereby such concepts may be developed and understood, while simultaneously modeling and equipping for team ministry. The training seminar is an opportunity for the facilitator and local minister to effectively model team ministry concepts. Effectively presented, the model will empower and equip for team ministry.
Reflection upon leadership identity issues should lead to leadership renewal of identity and vision, and facilitate introspection and reflection on congregational identity issues. This process should help create an agenda with compatible strategies and establish priorities for future.
The first step in the project was an unannounced evaluation of initial leadership processes and dynamics, confidence, and satisfaction completed in conjunction with the regular quarterly Elders-Deacons-Ministers meeting. The Team-Review Survey, Readiness Scale instrument (RS), and observation were used in this initial evaluation.
The Team-Review Survey employs nine-question scales to assess twelve team characteristics, eleven of which reflect either satisfaction or confidence (belief in the ability of the team to act effectively). This instrument was used for initial assessment of the leadership team. Confidence is generally reflected in five items--team quality and qualification, achievement orientation, effective work methods, individual development, and creativity. Satisfaction is generally reflected in six items-- appropriate leadership, group commitment, climate, corporate role (identity), team role, and accountability. One item, intergroup relationships, is correlative to cohesion within the larger church context but not to cohesion within the leadership team. The team characteristics on the survey are described negatively as "team blockages," and high scores (the maximum score for each area is twenty-seven) indicate deficiencies or concerns. It was assumed that lowered raw scores in TRS postassessment would indicate increased cohesion, satisfaction, and confidence with regard to the correlative areas. After the seminar was completed, changes in the order of importance were analyzed for significance.
The Team-Review Survey results--initial, final, and changes--were shared and verified in the exit interviews.
The Readiness Scale instrument was used in pre- intervention assessment to quantitatively evaluate initial readiness levels. This instrument measures job readiness and psychological readiness, and allows the results to be correlated with situational leadership styles.
This instrument requires the identification of job objectives or responsibilities. These objectives should reflect the responsibilities of the leaders within the church. The following objectives were defined in conversations with the elders of the church. The objectives for deacons were (1) to lead a ministry, (2) to involve others in that ministry, (3) to coordinate that ministry with the objectives of the church through the church leadership team, and (4) to be an example in spiritual growth. The objectives for elders were (1) to oversee the work of the church, (2) to shepherd the flock, (3) to provide leadership to the leadership team, and (4) to be an example in spiritual growth. The objectives for ministers were (1) to contribute appropriately as a resource to the leadership team, (2) to lead a ministry, (3) to involve others in that ministry, (4) to set an example in spiritual growth, and (5) to help others grow spiritually. The readiness dimensions of the instrument (job readiness and psychological readiness) are closely correlative to confidence and satisfaction. The results of the readiness scale were not focused specifically during the training modules, although the first module mentioned the results in introducing the Situational Leadership model (correlating RS and LEAD results). The RS was used again in postassessment, and a comparison of the initial and final assessments for each individual were shared in the exit interviews. The use of the Readiness Scale instrument was deemed important to making the project an empowerment model. The Readiness Scale results also allow the facilitator to match his leadership style with the receptivity and readiness of the participants.
Analysis of Initial Assessments
The results of these pre-intervention assessments are reported in the next chapter and compared with the postassessments to measure to impact of the project. Levels of cohesion, readiness, confidence, and satisfaction in the initial assessments are noted as are variances in these factors within the leadership team and in leadership subsystems (elders, deacons, and ministers).
After the training model was completed, the project asked what changes had occurred in cohesion, satisfaction, confidence, and readiness, and the relationships between changes were analyzed. These results and analyses are also recorded in the next chapter.
Facilitation of the Model
Setting. The team building model developed in this project used a weekend training seminar with three modules (approximately six hours of instruction and interaction). The focus was on interpersonal differences and how the individual leaders contribute to the leadership team. The seminar was designed for team interaction through self-discovery and discovery of team identity. The seminar included opportunities for individual, small group, and large group processing, and was followed by opportunities for individual processing in the exit interviews. Future meetings of the leadership team allowed additional processing by the team in a large group setting.
Module 1. In the first module, the Situational Leadership materials (LEAD) were presented as correlative with the pretest Readiness Scale (RS) results. The purpose was to validate the preassessment readiness instrument by showing that leaders who know the follower readiness levels can more effectively identify consistent leadership styles and strategies. The Readiness Scale results were not analyzed in detail to help avoid misreporting of results on the postassessment (whether positive or negative).
The team's Team-Review Survey results were shared, allowing individual participants to compare their general perceptions to those of the larger group, but no detailed analysis was attempted. The initial Team-Review Survey instruments and results were collected at this time.
In a brief introductory segment, the Tuckman model of group development was presented to provide background for the various activities participants would share in during the seminar.
Finally, the Situational Leadership instrument (LEAD) was administered and participants were assisted in correlating their individual results with the readiness scale (RS). Most of the participants found their leadership style and readiness level to be similar. This segment of the first module provided an obvious awakening as the participants became aware of similarities and differences among the leaders as each makes his unique contribution to the overall efforts of the team. The combined Team-Review Survey results and the correlation of the Situational Leadership material with the Readiness Scale gave obvious points of contact and identity so that some participants began to see the importance of a team orientation based upon common goals and purposes rather than like interests as is often the case, especially among church leaders.
Module 2. The Parker Team Player Survey was used in this segment to further develop and demonstrate personal differences. I was prepared to work through any remaining resistance as this section began, but the participants were fully ready to continue the self-discovery and to share their findings.
The Parker Team Player Survey does not perfectly integrate with the Situational Leadership materials, but enough points of similarity exist that this exercise was seen as the most rewarding and enjoyable of the seminar according to the exit questionnaires and interviews. The nature and components of the church's leadership culture were identified and discussed here, and the participants were placed in small groups (according to team player style) for further discussion and processing of the information presented.
Module 3. In the third module the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument was administered. This module addressed the relationships between the various Situational Leadership styles, the team player styles, and conflict management modes. This segment provided an opportunity for final information processing and application to relationships and leadership dynamics within the group.
The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument focuses on how different people approach conflict, and how each contributes to the team in conflicted situations. This was the least favorite of the instruments and the most difficult to complete (because it is a forced-choice instrument), but its use and interpretation contributed insights essential to team development by addressing situations in which team- orientation and commitment are most likely to vanish.
After the seminar the changes which occurred in leadership satisfaction, confidence, readiness, and cohesion were evaluated and the relationships between these changes analyzed as outlined below.
All exit questionnaires were completed within one week. Posttesting, analysis concerning whether project objectives were met, tabulation of measurements of the degree of importance and degree of satisfaction among participants, readministration of The Team-Review Survey for reevaluation of the confidence, satisfaction, and cohesiveness of the leadership team, retesting of the leadership team with the Readiness Rating Scale, final interviews, analysis of changes in relationships and leadership dynamics, and final information processing were completed within a month after the seminar was conducted.
An informal evaluation of leadership processes and dynamics, confidence, and satisfaction was completed at the next quarterly Elder-Deacon-Ministers meeting to discover if the results reported in the exit interviews and in the postassessment instruments were only temporary. This evaluation used observation and informal interviews.
Post-assessments were of three kinds. First, the same evaluative instruments as were used in preassessment (The Team Review Survey and Readiness Scale) were administered and postassessment perceptions and readiness scores were compared to the initial results. Levels of satisfaction, readiness, and confidence for the leadership team and for leadership subsystems were assessed and the data analyzed in view of the project objectives. Changes in cohesiveness were investigated. Those results are reported in the next chapter.
Second, two exit questionnaires were used to evaluate the degree of satisfaction and importance with regard to the training model, to ask whether project objectives were met, and to inquire whether the objectives of the model were met: Did understandings of personal identity change? Have understandings of leadership identity and process issues increased? Does understanding individual similarities and differences increase your acceptance of others? Has understanding of the leadership team's unique character, strengths, and weaknesses increased? Did personal and leadership renewal result? Did readiness levels increase?
A third exit questionnaire concerned the effectiveness of the facilitator. This facilitator evaluation questionnaire provided helpful feedback for personal growth in ministerial effectiveness and for assessing the impact of the facilitator on the relational-experiential process. These results may also help identify desirable characteristics in persons wanting to replicate the model in their ministries.
In addition to the exit questionnaires, exit interviews were used to verify and clarify posttest assessments and results. Because team cohesion can be increased by shared goals, time together, perceptions of similarity, identity as part of a group, increased trust, and other factors, the concluding interview asked, "What do you believe contributed to the changes?" A specific question also asked to what extent the results might have come as a result of the Hawthorne effect--from participants wanting to have a positive outcome for the facilitator.
The model secondarily modeled and taught effective leadership and ministry in a context of mutuality, but these effects were not measured.
Analysis of Final Assessments
The reporting and analysis of the results appears in the next chapter, but the following are representative of the kinds of questions which the assessments were designed to address.
These and similar questions were answered by an evaluation of the results of the training model.