09 November 2007

Structure and Design

Cathedral-1000Bob Robinson over at Vanguard Church has posted an interesting article on structure and design, part of his continuing exploration of Appreciative Inquiry. My response is that the process of AI often leads one back to issues of structure and design of the church.

It isn't always WHAT we are doing, but WHY we are doing it.

About the same time I also received the monthly newsletter from Gary Collins, which contained an article about decision paralysis. His focus as a coach is on working with people who have difficulty making decisions. Collins says that this issue is often one of the reasons why churches falter in their mission and ministry.

A lot of churches are good at giving you a lot of generic ministry. For example, sermons seem to be based on some nebulous, distant purpose or idea, but do not seem to have much to do with why the church is in town. There may be a lot of activity, but the attention span of the members of the church seems short lived, and the church has to reinvent itself in the Fall or Spring, and come up with another set of new programs

I find what Collins has to say interesting:

At times every coach works with people who have difficulty making decisions. This decision making process is hardest when a client, organization or business must choose between options that are equally attractive. ...as people face a variety of options they can become overloaded and tyrannized by “decision paralysis.”

We think we know what we need to do, but faced with the problem and possible alternatives, we slow to a crawl and either cannot make a decision or we develop a generic, one size fits all, type of ministry. It fails to have structure or design.

For Collins, if a church wants to have structure and design, then, one way to "...make tough decisions easier is to be guided by a clear, concise, easy-to-remember mission statement."

The mission statement helps us to make decisions about who to reach out to, what to teach, where to focus our energies, and what path is best for the church ministry.

As Collins says, "The best mission statements don’t just hang in a frame on the wall. They can be useful guides for making decisions and reducing decision paralysis."

Or to put it another way, how do you encourage people in a church to be all God wants them if you don't know what you want them to be? That's where a mission statement comes in to play.

The point of all this then is to say, AI can lead you to discover the various processes and strengths of a church, but if you don't know where you are going, one place is as good as another.

Print this post


Post a Comment