Friday, July 15, 2011

The Church takes stroll...(Beginning of conversation 1)

The Church, like much of the world, is struggling with the anxieties and stresses of a rapidly changing world. Imagine if the Church went shopping for some remedies. Taking an introspective stroll at the Mall of Current Ideas, venders attempt to lure the Church into a long-term, contractual agreement. What should the Church decide in order to ensure its survival and perhaps even a brighter future?  
The Church first encounters, none other than Efficiency.
Efficiency: (Of course he speaks first) Church you are a slow organization. You move so slowly. You adapt too slow. Today's successful companies and organizations run as models of efficiency. Due to the pace of the market place they have to make quick decisions in order to compete. Church you are a slow organization using the committee structure and Robert's Rules of order. You need to adapt to the fast-paced times. You are falling so far behind you are becoming irrelevant. You are like a large ship that turns slowly in the water and so cautiously that you couldn't catch the weakest Jet Ski. I'm like a speed boat that can turn on a dime and yet large enough to maneuver in the roughest seas. I can do a world of good to help you adapt to today’s realities. You need my expertise! 
Church: Making quick decisions sure are essential for competing in the rapid pace of today’s marketplace. You are right about that. I desire a voice in the marketplace of ideas. But speed, I believe, can also be detriment. Novelty can mislead. Remember New Coke? Sometimes older is better. When something has been around for thousands of years it has been thoroughly tested. Remember though, the turtle, not the rabbit, wins the race. You forget the average lifespan of a Fortune 500 company is around 40 years. I have been around for at least 2,000 (and some would argue for longer than that). I'm not so sure I need you, Efficiency. In fact, you could learn a thing or two from me.  
Efficiency: True you have been around, and perhaps we might learn a little something from you, but don't you keep up with the news? Times are changing and changing faster than ever before. That companies only last a few decades is exactly my point. Don't you see your fate there as well? Just look at your attendance numbers and aging congregations. Look to Europe to see your fate! Massive and beautiful cathedrals with barely a person inside worshiping the god of the middle ages! Come, let us speak about organic groups and dynamic groups, downsizing and bottom up empowerment, downscaling, doing away with middle management, putting more cost and responsibility on your customers, and all the latest trends. If you don't listen now and begin changing, I fear your irrelevance in our society will only continue to increase. Can you hear the peril in my tone of voice? I am really afraid for you. Adapt now or there will be only a small remnant left who will not have any influence or impact in the world. Trust me, heed the dire warning signs - change or be left behind yourself!
The conversation will continue next time.

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