Two-part Ventures course to focus on positive change in congregations

By Kendra Flory

The March offering from the Ventures in Christian Discipleship program at McPherson (Kan.) College will be “Strategies for Leading Positive Change in Congregations.” The course will be held online in two evening sessions, with Part I on Monday, March 6, and Part II on Tuesday, March 7, at 6-7:30 p.m. (central time), presented by Greg Davidson Laszakovits.

Course description: It’s been said that “The only place we cannot expect change is from a vending machine.” That quote is a great example as vending machines go cashless. Congregational leaders (lay and pastoral) are under increasing pressure as our world changes at an increasingly rapid rate and our congregations decline. It is no longer controversial to say that the established church has not met the world’s changes with enough creativity or fluidity to sustain itself. Moreover, the spiritual and relational health of our congregations also suffers due to toxic systems and personalities we know not how to transform. Believing the Jesus message is timeless; how do our congregations and institutions adapt to bring the message to this time and place? How do congregational leaders–responsible for the health and vitality of their congregations–lead change in such a way that does not burn bridges but instead makes a positive impact and builds up the congregation in spirit?

Please pray… For the Ventures in Christian Discipleship program and all who are involved in organizing it and leading courses.

In this two-part course, participants will learn two strategic models for leading positive change in the life of their congregation. “Lawson’s Architecture,” pioneered in the Civil Rights movement, provides a framework for moving a group of people through a change, even when they are resistant. The “Marathon Training Model” shows how we initiate change while building an organization’s capacity to continue to change. We will look at case studies and have time to offer our examples and challenges from our own ministry settings and strategize as time allows. Warning: this session offers no quick fixes, simple solutions, or “five-steps for a congregational turn-around” program. Grounded, intelligent, passionate leaders ready to dig in will benefit.

Greg Davidson Laszakovits: As a trusted coach, speaker, and leader, he gives his best so that others can share theirs. He has an executive leadership certificate from Cornell University and a master’s in conflict transformation. More than 25 years of experience in the for-profit and nonprofit worlds taught what focused and purposeful leadership looks like. And his ongoing journey as a partner in racial justice teaches him daily that transformation is possible and that we must all keep growing.

Continuing education credit is available. During the registration process, there is an opportunity to pay for CEUs and give an optional donation to the Ventures program. If you are unable to attend the course in real-time, your CEU payment will be converted to a gift toward the Ventures program unless you tell the college differently within two weeks of the course offering.

Registration and more information is at

All previous Ventures courses are available through the archive at They are a wealth of insight and information. These recordings are now eligible for CEU credit through the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. If you desire CEUs, please work directly with the academy to fulfill the requirements.

— Kendra Flory is advancement assistant at McPherson (Kan.) College.


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