Our last three articles have focused the nature and impact of the Religion Singularity…
namely an increasingly turbulent and unpredictable environment.
This we we shift toward what it takes to survive and thrive in that environment.
To survive and thrive in an unpredictable environment, our organization must develop agility. Agility means the power to move quickly and nimbly around obstacles and toward opportunities. But agility also means the capability to make vital decisions swiftly and effectively, deftly pivoting between paths containing varying degrees of danger and opportunity.
To put it bluntly, it is impossible to be simultaneously fat and agile. The more mass we gain, the more inertia comes with it. More inertia means we will have a lot more trouble changing direction, which by definition decreases agility. This means that if we want our organization to acquire the capability for agility, we must also help it become lean. For us to becoming lean we must shed all forms of excess “weight” by eliminating all forms of waste.
[bctt tweet=”To put it bluntly, it’s impossible to be simultaneously fat and agile.
—Ken Howard” username=”faithxproject”]
If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that our faith-based communities and organizations contain many forms of waste. Traditionalism, dogmatism, clericalism, and any other “-ism” – in which a created form is worshipped nearly as much as the Creator – are ways in which we enable waste. Another way we enable waste is our failure to exercise good stewardship of our congregation members’ time, talents, and treasure. If we truly desire to be become lean, we must help our faith-based communities and organizations jettison every unproductive organizational process and structure. Meanwhile, in the place of those things we have discarded as waste, we must leverage the unique gifts, skills, and callings of every person in our congregations and organizations to the fullest, knowing that getting lean reduces our inertia, which results in greater agility. Finally, if we are to get lean in a strategic fashion, we must have a clear and transcendent vision, so that we might distinguish between those aspects of organizational structure and process that support the vision – and must be kept – and those that do not – and must be eliminated.
Common Cause Community
In order to minimize competition and maximize collaboration between our faith-based communities and organizations and other faith-based communities and organizations serving our communities, we must be able to make common cause with those that have similar visions and are heading in similar directions. In set theory this is known as centered-set community, in which membership is determine by shared vision and goals, and it is the opposite of bounded-set community, in which membership is defined based on boundary conditions: all the ways in which our distinguish our organizations from others. Faith-based communities and organizations in turbulent environments must share the attitude of Jesus that “whoever is not against us is for us.”
(Mark 9:40, Luke 9:50)
To effectively test hypotheses we are making,
we must know how to develop evaluative measures
that provide us with the data necessary
to help us understand how well our chosen strategies are working,
and whether and how we need to adjust course.