Church Reform and Leadership of Change

By Harald Askeland and Ulla Schmidt (editors)

Essays exploring the issues of change and reform in the modern Scandinavian churches, and the attendant challenges to church leadership and organisation.

ISBN: 9780227176184


Reforms and processes of change have become an increasingly pervasive characteristic of European Protestant churches in the last fifteen to twenty years. Driven by perceptions of crises, such as declining membership rates, dwindling finances, decreasing participation in church rituals, and less support of traditional church doctrine, but also changes of governance of religion more generally, many churches feel compelled to explore new forms of operations, activities, and organisational structures. What is the inner dynamic and nature of these processes? This book explores this question by applying perspectives from organisational studies and bringing them into dialogue with ecclesiological categories, seeking to provide a richer understanding of the field of processes of change in churches. Among the questions asked are: What are the implications – organisationally and ecclesiologically – of viewing reform as a church practice, and how does this relate to much more comprehensive waves of public sector reforms? How is church leadership configured and exercised, how is democratic leadership related to the authority of ordained ministry, and how does leadership take on new forms in the context of churches? And how do churches incorporate organisational practices of planned change and renewal, such as social entrepreneurship?

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 218

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Harald Askeland is professor of religious organisation and leadership at Diakonhjemmet University College, Norway. He has researched and published on leadership and organisational issues in churches and church-related organisations.

Ulla Schmidt is professor of practical theology at Aarhus University, Denmark. She has researched and published extensively on church reform processes, in particular church-state reforms and reforms of church governance in the Nordic countries.


List of Tables and Figures

1. Introduction
     Harald Askeland, Ulla Schmidt
2. Reforming Majority Churches: Possibilities and Dilemmas
     Isolde Karle
3. Motifs and Perspectives in the Reform Process of the Church of Norway
     Andreas Aarflot
4. Church Reforms and Public Reforms
     Ulla Schmidt
5. Church Leadership and the Management of Meaning in Times of Change: Notes from the Inside
     Bim Riddersporre, Johanna Gustafsson Lundberg
6. Church Leadership and Congregational Change: Staff, Volunteers, and the Parish Council
     Kjetil Fretheim
7. Reforming the Pastoral Managerial Structure in Church of Norway: Exploring Whether and How the Managerial Role of the Dean Has Been Strengthened
     Harald Askeland
8. Clergy Discipline Decisions in the Church of England and the Church of Sweden Compared
     Per Hansson
9. A Deliberate Action: Leaving the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark
     Karen Marie Sø Leth-Nissen
10. From “Who Is in Charge?” to “How Are We in Charge?”: Is It Time for a Shift in the Leadership Paradigm?
     Hege Steinsland
11. Change and Development for the Future: Entrepreneurship in the Church of Sweden
     Maria Åkerström


Endorsements and Reviews

National Protestant Churches are challenged from below and from above, and from all sides, to adopt to the modern management standards of theirs societies. Is this what the continuing reformation of Protestant churches should look like? The analyses in these well-researched papers are critical but also aware of the dilemmas facing the churches.
Hans Raun Iversen, Director of Centre for Church Research, University of Copenhagen

This fine collection of essays provides unique insights for an English-speaking audience, especially regarding the development in the Nordic churches in times of change. Through their theoretical grounding and comparative potential, the studies also provide valuable insights for readers in other contexts.
Harald Hegstad, Professor of Systematic Theology, MF Norwegian School of Theology

It presents the reader with fascinating stories of intentional change, including not only sensitive questions about relations between church and state, but also about change management at the very local level.
Christopher Hill, in Theology, Vol 121, No 3

… a breadth of perspectives …
Tim Harle, in Modern Believing, Vol 60, No 4, October 2019