Congregational life has changed in so many ways in recent years, not least among them the transition from cooperation to competition as the central model of how churches relate to one another. Simply put, congregations that don’t learn to compete in this new "economy" will have few chances to thrive.
This change can be scary, because it forces us out of established patterns of behavior and thinking. This is why trying to lead a congregation in these changing times seems so often to lead to conflict. Yet that conflict is not inevitable, says Lyle Schaller. We can't stop the change that has led to higher levels of competition, but we can manage that change in a variety of ways, such as making certain that we accompany it with an increase in the number of choices a congregation experiences, and by allowing change to lead to healthy competition.