Sunday, May 22, 2011

157. Lifeshapes and Cultural Upheaval

We are currently receiving some excellent training by the 3DM folks on discipleship and missional communities. This is a short introduction to the context in which the Lifeshapes are meant to function. I think the metaphor of a compass rather than a map is quite instructive.

Monday, May 09, 2011

156. Modality and Sodality

Ralph Winter first introduced the terms "Modality and Sodality" into the missiological world way back in the early 1970's. The basic gist of modality and sodality are the need for two different kinds of organizational structures within the church to accomplish the mission. A modality is an organizational structure that is designed for long term stability. It establishes routines and typically stays in one place for an extended period of time. The local church is typically organized as a modality.

A sodality is a group structure that is designed for mobility and trans-local activity. Their goal is not permanent residency, but seasonal, itinerant residency, that is marked with transition and travel.

In a recent conversation with Sam Metcalf, I was given a valuable piece of advice. If you are apostolic, then you will most likely be functioning with a more sodal-ic heart. As such, when you arrive in a particular location and look to establish a new modality, it should be stated from the get-go that you will not have a permanent residence within the community. This will not only help the group understand what is going on when you and a few others decide to "leave" the new group and pioneer another modality, it will also help establish expectations about leadership within the community. It can also serve as a good accountability device for those apostolic type people who, because of their trans-local, entrepreneurial nature, do not need to cement themselves into the organizational structure and leadership of the new community.  In order to function as a sodality, you can not remain as an integral part of the modality.

I can attest to this wisdom as the original "founding group" of people who first started Ikon are now looking to move out from the existing house churches they are in and regroup to start-up another missional community within our city. This move by the original group has created some tension within our larger community that otherwise could have been avoided if the original folks involved in the church plant understood themselves, and communicated to the new community, that thwere are two different kinds of church structures. One is more local and has a more stable design for longevity, the other is more mobile and is designed for itinerant, pioneering forms of work. It does not mean the modality can not be missional, it just means that the local church will look different, organizationally, then say, an apostolic band of people who are looking to start new communities and then move on. The nature of the task requires a different kind of organization for each. The key is: both are legitimate expressions and forms of

We need to recover this bi-focal vision of the ekklesia because there is no way we can accomplish our missional mandate without these two kinds of structures. The local, more modalic structures are too clunky and not flexible enough to do trans-local mission. The sodalic, more itinerant structures can not provide the same level of stability and continuity that the modalities provide. The truth is, we need both, and both of them need each other to be a truly missional movement.

In some ways, our church could not have predicted that things would have unfolded the way they have in the past year. None of the original group could have imagined that we would start over again, on the same team, with a new church plant. In some sense we are like an apostolic band who is being called to another work together. However, it would have been great to have understood the differences between a modality and a sodality from the beginning so we could have built those two concepts into our understanding of how we will organize for mission.

So, the great thing about laying new foundations is that you can start fresh! We will definitely build this understanding of the church into the new foundations we lay this second time around.

Monday, May 02, 2011

155. MBTI and Ministry Part 2

In the last post I pointed out my MBTI categories. I am particularly interested in how the categories of "J" and "P" play themselves out in apostolic people. We should first start out by recognizing that there are, according to Galatians 2, at leats two functions of apostolic ministry: Petrine and Pauline.

1.) The focus of Petrine apostolic ministry is more to the people of God, which entails engaging organizational and institutional contexts with a higher degree of regularity (and efficiency) than the Pauline. Petrine apostles find it more appealing to work with people who already have a good stock of religious capital.

2.) The focus of Pauline apostolic ministry is more to the "Gentile," or in other words, those who do not have much religious capital. Pauline apostles have an affinity for the wide open spaces of unsettled territory, more regularly AWAY from the center of the organization.

If we allow for this distinction, then the categories of "J" and "P" from MBTI may be helpful in deciphering ones orientation towards a Pauline or Petrine model of apostleship. 

The Role of "J' in apostolic ministry

If you are apostolic and happen to be a "J" on the MBTI, then this might be an indicator that you are more of a Petrine apostle than a Pauline.The J's love order, planning and structure. They plan their work and work their plan. They will be highly focused and driven to execute the strategy, ideally with little deviation till the plan has been accomplished. As such, they either tend to keep their attention focused straight ahead on the goal, or keep their heads down to ensure the plan is being executed. As a result, they sometimes steamroll right past people. They typically only see the end goal, not the people around them. If they do see people, it is as a means to an end. They are resources that help the "J" to get from point A to point B. The slide show on the previous post uses this diagram to illustrate the streamlined way in which J's approach tasks and deadlines.

This kind of approach makes Petrine apostles highly valuable to the organization. They are excellent at mobilizing people towards a specific goal and making sure the organization stays on track. Because they crave order and succinct game plans, they are most effective when they are in an environment that accommodates this disposition. The center of the organization, or a mobile organization, provides this environment for apostolic J's.

The role of P's in apostolic ministry

P's on the other hand, are another story.  They are perfectly at home in a more chaotic environment and minimal amounts of structure. They like to keep their options open and actually enjoy deviating from the plan. If you are apostolic and happen to be a P on the MBTI, you are most likely a Pauline type of apostle. You will crave the openness and possibilities of doing ministry where there are all kinds of contingencies, complexity and lack of organization. This does not mean that a P will not reach the deadline or that they will not achieve any sort of structure or bring order out of chaos. What it does mean is that they will take a different route to get there. Consider this diagram form the previous slide show.

While this kind of approach literally bugs the hell out of a "J", the "P" brings a certain advantage to projects that are being executed out and away from the more controlled environment of the organization. The "P" will more readily notice people and is often really good at noticing the person of peace. They have their eye on the developing patterns and opportunities around them. They are quite adaptive to changing circumstances. This is the kind of capacity one needs while working on the edge, away from the more predictable environment at the center of the organization. Apostles with a P are typically going to have a stronger gifting of evangelist mixed in somewhere in their APEST profile.

Finding the sweet spot between order and chaos is what both the J and P apostles bring to the table. they will both create what Dee Hock calls a chaordic environment. The only difference is, P's will more readily linger in the chaotic phase before they tighten the ropes and formulate some kind of order. The J's will bring a strong sense of order into the chaos a lot more quickly. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches, depending on the environment. Either way, P's need J's to standardize their ministries for sustainability, while J's need P's to recognize the opportunities floating all around them.

None of this, of course, is intended to box people up. I think an introverted person could also be a P and still function primarily as a Petrine apostle. The introverted dynamic being the decisive factor that points them towards a more Petrine function. The only point I am making is that if you crave order and structure, you may be more aligned with a Petrine function than a Pauline function. It is something worth thinking about. If I am right, then the line between Pauline and Petrine is negotiated between the combination's of E and I, and P and J, with N being a constant throughout.