church ministry’s repetition vs iteration

In her book, “How To Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going: Leading in a Liminal Season”, Susan Beaumont points out that:

“Unfortunately, communities of faith often behave as if past experiences are naturally repetitive.  ‘Out attendance was much higher when we advertised in the yellow pages.  We should advertise in the yellow pages again.’  In liminal seasons we need to learn new responses to changing conditions.  Instead of repeating the past, we must iterate.  Repetition is the recurrence of the same action or even in response to a stimulus.  Repetition is static.  If I do X, it will result in Y.  Unfortunately, repetition doesn’t yield much learning…Iteration also involves doing something again and again.  However, in iteration each new act is influenced by the previous experience and slightly adapted to learn something more.  We focus on incorporating the learning from the experiment and integrating what is novel into what is known”.

In the past, my intention of visiting churches, attending seminars, and reading books is to see how much I can “repeat”.  I also see churches trying very hard (I should say in their best) to “repeat” their work so that their “old glories” are able to be  “repeated”.  It often foreshadowed the decline of the churches.

After our intention of visiting, attending and reading is changed to “iteration”, we will learn and grow.

 

effective leader and people’s dysfunctional behavior

In her book “How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going: Leading in a Liminal Season” Susan Beaumont points out that:

“Anxious people tend to behave badly.  And when they do, a leader’s energy is often directed at coping with the dysfunctional behavior of a few, rather than focusing on the health of the whole.  An effective leader resists being drawn into the dysfunctional and remains focused on health and hope”.

I used to try my best to please, comfort, and calm the few with dysfunctional behavior.  I usually end up becoming very tired and losing all my energy (and even hope) to serve and lead others.  I myself so often became dysfunctional when I was drawn into the dysfunctional.

Therefore, we should not give all that we have to those with dysfunctional behavior.  We have to remain focused on health & hope.

Our restricted awareness

In her book, “How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going: Leading in a Liminal Season”, Susan Beaumont discusses the field of our attention based on Otto Scharmer’s teaching.  Beaumont points out that “The field of our attention is formed by learned patterns for the past.  We pay attention to the reality in front of us through habitual judgments.  Scharmer uses the term ‘downloading’ to describe our habitual mode of interpreting the present reality in light of past experience.  When we download, our learning is limited to reconfirming what we already know to be true…..Nothing new permeates our bubble of interpretation.  We only hear what we have already determined to be true…When downloading, we are unaware of all that informs our situation.  We operate with blind spots.  Our blind spots are formed by the assumptions we make without realizing that we are assuming..We convince ourselves that our reflection on our experience is the same as the experience itself, that it captures the fullness of all that may have happened…”

I believe what Beaumont is discussing here is applicable to not only our individual personal life but also our group/community/church lives.  As a priest/pastor, I see that this is one of the main causes to churches’ declining, dying, and closing.

Definition of Church Planting

I have been discerning and preparing new church initiatives, I got Aubrey Malphurs’ book, “The Nuts and Bolts of Church Planting: A Guide for Starting Any Kind of Church”. In this book, Aubrey Malphurs writes: “I define church planting as an exhausting but exciting venture of faith, the planned process of starting and growing local churches based on Jesus’s promise to build his church and in obedience to his Great Commission”.

Why do we need to plant a new church? We are going to plant and grow a church in obedience to his Great Commission. Since this is an exhausting venture, I need fellow pilgrims. Your prayers and partnership (in many different ways) are invited and appreciated. For the sake of His Kingdom Ministry, let’s follow His way together.