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Doctoral Project Abstract

A Manual for Change: Breaking Organizational Barriers and Encouraging Growth within The United Methodist Church in Africa

Weston Tafadzwa Mudambanuki

For the United Methodist Church (UMC) organization to survive in the 21st century it must embrace change. Uprooting entrenched habits of command and control, removing impediments in information flow, appropriately handling leadership development is like pulling wisdom teeth. The United Methodist Church in Africa operates wearing a traditional straitjacket that both constricts and constrains.

This leadership manual for change addresses the question: What type of leadership and organizational structure is best suited for a globally volatile and turbulent church in a world undergoing gigantic transformations?

Feedback from both formal and informal interviews within the UMC in Africa revealed church members would like their leaders to dismantle any structure that creates an impediment for effective communication and find ways of cascading decision-making authority from senior executives to men and women across the organizational strata. Creating a boundaryless UMC organization requires a new mindset. The UMC requires deliberate changes in their structure, leadership styles, in sharing of information and in the way leadership development is handled for the common good.

The United Methodist Church in Africa operates in a technologically pervasive environment that is shaping individuals perceptions through the influence of use of social media, the Internet, digitization and globalization. Each individual church member brings to the church a different understanding shaped by pervasive technology.

For The United Methodist Church to survive in the 21st century, it must adapt to major social changes. The UMC cannot ask people to do the same things the same way and expect different results. As the needs of the church are changing, so should the methods of resolving issues.

The United Methodist Church leaders should be ready to abandon control and celebrity status - the fading banners of industrial age leadership - and embrace a new group of C words: connect, coalesce, converge, collaborate and commune.

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