Monday, 24 October 2016

Chaotic beginnings

Acts 6:1
Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food.

Gird your loins...
Wake up and smell the coffee..
Suck it up...
... and other euphemisms come to mind to describe how we might respond to the next stage of our journey on Path of Renewal.

"When you stand before people and tell them that in order to accomplish a mission, they have to change, adapt, give up something for the greater good, work with those they don’t like or compromise on something they care about, they get mad . They get really mad. Mostly, they get mad at you , and this is exactly the sign that transformation is beginning to happen.(Tod Bolsinger, Canoeing the Mountains)

I'm reading Canoeing the Mountains alongside re-reading Ed Friedman's Failure of Nerve - which is providing a very helpful focus for the next stage of our journey on Path of Renewal.
Listening deeply to both God and our communities, asking the right kind of questions, hearing the stories, both ancient and modern and, through those practices, discerning God's invitation to join in mission takes us into unfamiliar territory. It takes us out of our comfort zones and forces us to confront hard choices. And, in particular, although we might have known support when we were "saying the right things", encouraging folk to consider their focus and purpose alongside God, it's a whole other matter when it's time to move from talking mission to living mission. Often, our role in that part of the process, aside from exemplifying change is to provide a non-anxious presence when accompanying others through change - confronting the outward and the inward effects of transition - and to do this effectively while processing our own inner journey because mission is not a solo pursuit but a journey we make alongside others. It's also about holding our nerve when it seems that folk no longer like us, something that none of us find easy. It is indeed cold comfort to know that this signals the beginning of the transformation of which we dream.

1 comment:

  1. And here's a quote which refers exactly to our ' Small Groups' The transformation team . The transformation team is akin to what John Kotter calls a “Guiding Coalition.” 11 This group will add effort to the inspiration. They are going to do the work of listening, learning, attempting and, yes, failing. (Remember how many early attempts at building rockets flamed out on the launch pad?) This team needs to be innovative and persistent, cohesive and communicative. In many situations this is the staff executive team, but often it is not. Indeed, in church settings, I believe it is usually a mistake to assume that the church staff will be the transformation team. In churches the transformation team needs to be made up of both staff and lay leaders. In any organization the transformation team requires both those who have authoritative positions and those with informal influence. In short, the transformation team must be those with the most creativity, energy, credibility, personal maturity and dogged determination. They must be enthusiastic for the idea, resolute about seeing it through and willing to expend relational capital to bring genuine culture change. And perhaps most importantly, they must be volunteers. Even if leading this change is in someone’s job description (as it should be in a truly transformative organization) most of those on the transformation team will be giving time, energy and effort far beyond a usual forty-hour week. Perhaps most important, this team should be ready to disband, giving up their power and influence so the organization itself will embrace and institutionalize the changes.