Friday, October 31, 2014

228. Self Organizing Adaptive Systems and Movement

In The Permanent Revolution: Apostolic Imagination and Practice for the 21st Century Church, we talk how the church is facing an adaptive challenge here in the West. By definition, an adaptive response requires you to innovate. In other words, an adaptive challenge resists already existing solutions. If the existing solutions were adequate, than we would not be facing the challenge.

So how do you make an innovative, adaptive response to an adaptive challenge? The simple answer is you allow people to self-organize in their own context and let the movemental energies of the gospel, community, discipleship, and fivefold (APEST), work themselves out in organic ways. But how does this work in real life?

Centralize before you Decentralize

Any time you hear someone say something really cool, and propose a clever solution, you should always pause and ask: What's the back story? In other words, how do we actually get there? The simple (yet challenging) answer to this question is: through disicpling relationships.In order for people to make an adaptive response, they first have to be discipled into the core DNA (essential skills,sensibilities, paradigms and practices) of being like Jesus, the most adaptive leader ever. The discipling relationship is a season where a few people centralize around a leader in order to learn how to live and lead into the core DNA of a movement. It is through discipling relationships that the DNA gets transmitted in a movement. After a period of centralization, then you can de-centralize and let innovation run wild. It is this core DNA that allows any organism, system, organization or community to self-organize and formulate adaptive responses.

The Monk Offense

As I researched the concept of self-organizing systems, I ran across a guy named Ron Ekker, a seasoned NBA coach who started a training organization called Basketball Talk Pro. This guy created the Monk Offense, an offensive strategy that incorporates the principles of self-organizing, adaptive, improvisational systems.

Ron doesn't necessarily package his training well (talks slow, a bit boring) but he is the only person I know that has systematically applied the concepts of self-organizing adaptive systems to the realm of sports and teams.  He really is a genius in explaining how the concept of DNA (what he calls "rules") is axiomatic to any system being able to improvise, and thus make an adaptive response.

This is a video of him explaining how it works in basketball. It is a beautiful example of how simple DNA(rules) can facilitate movemental dynamics and facilitate innovation.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

227. Missional Commons: Evangelism in the Missional Church

The Missional Commons

Ever participated in the Missional Commons? This will be my first opportunity to hang out with some folks in the Chicago area. Geoff Holsclaw has been stoking this fire for a while now. 
Here is some of the info from Geoff's site. This year’s Missional Learning Commons will focus on the oft forgotten member of the 5-fold gifts for the church (Eph. 5): the Evangelists.

The Evangelist in the Missional Church

While the Attractional Church focuses mostly on Pastors and Teachers, the Missional Church often gravitates toward the Apostles and Prophets.

But what of the Evangelists?
On Nov. 7th and 8th the Missinoal Comons will focus our attention on the Practices of Proclamation & Presence as we seek the Kingdom of God among us in personal spaces, social spaces, and public spaces.  
I'll be teaching a session on the profile of an evangelist, with implications for how we recognizer and empower evangelists in the missional church and movements. 
Friday, Nov. 7th (7:30-9:00pm)
Saturday, Nov. 8th (8:30am-3:00pm)
Registration will include a catered lunch on Saturday as well as childcare on Satuday for those who need it.
The Commons of Peace of Christ Community Church in Westmont, IL.
If your in the area, check this thing out. 

Saturday, September 06, 2014

226. The Permanent Revolution Playbook

At last! After a lot of hard work, a practical resource for engaging the five-fold ministries of apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers (APEST) is now available! 

The Permanent Revolution is a six week exploration into Ephesians four with special emphasis on how APEST functions in groups and teams. Whether you are currently in a group or are at the beginning phases of starting one, this Playbook has been especially deisgned to help a group develop theior potential for ministry and leadership. 

Specifically, The Permanent Revolution Playbook is designed to bring:

Greater Awareness to the Biblical foundations for the five-fold ministry vocations of Ephesians 4, with an emphasis on clear and practical definitions for each gifting. 

Deeper Appreciation for how each gifting uniquely contributes to the growth and maturity of the church as missional movement. 

Clearer Assessment of both individual and group APEST ministry profiles and processes for identifying key areas for individual and group development. 

Closer Alignment for negotiating the tensions between unity and diversity, with implications for equipping and empowering others for ministry and leadership. 

If you have been waiting for a resource on APEST that anyone can participate in, then wait no longer. This Playbook is a great way to introduce the biblical principles of APEST, while also guiding people through a process of how to practically implement it within their own context. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

225. Team Development for Church Planting

Lord of the Flies, William Golding’s novel about a group of boys stuck on an uninhabited island, remains a classic. What at first seemed like an ideal situation for a bunch of kids away from their parents soon became a rather harrowing experience.  Stranded all by themselves, they were suddenly forced to entertain an entirely new set of challenges.
One of the many challenges they faced was how to function as a group. Questions related to roles and responsibilities in the group began to surface. Needless to say, this group of kids could not come to a place of unity. Their disagreements about how live together led them to splinter into two opposing groups, each with their own methods of survival. Unfortunately, the boy’s naiveté and immaturity got the best of them. Their inability to function as a team seriously undermined their ability to face the challenges of their environment.  The boys finally make it off the island, but not without significant trauma and violence to certain members of the group.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

224. The Gospel and the Apostle: movemental through and through

This article by Paul Bowers is perhaps one of the most profound articles on the movemental nature of the gospel. It is rare to find a missiologist in the academy that makes this link between the gospel and movement. The great thing about Paul Bowers is that he also integrates this insight into Paul's view of his mission. If you are into church planting, or the missional conversation in general, then this will be a stimulating read for you. Link HERE

Thursday, March 13, 2014

223. The Missional Incarnational Journey and Missional Communties

One of the defining characteristics of missional communities is how they organize their rhythm of life around being on mission to a particular neighborhood or network of relationships. A missional community is, after all, a community with a mission. That particular mission, however, can (and should) look different for every missional community.
In time, disciples, leaders and missional communities multiply. This creates the potential for missional communities to focus on the various people groups and places of your city. This is the beauty of missional communities: they provide a common vehicle that allows people to pursue a diversity of callings.

Missional-Incarnational Impulse

While every MC will have a different look and feel, they should all be shaped by what Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch have coined as the “missional-incarnational impulse.”
The missional impulse is the notion that we are to be a sent and sending presence in the world. This is the “going” of our collective vocation as the people of God. As a sent people, we are inherently movemental, which is to say, in Bible-speak “apostolic.” Part of living out the missional impulse is being willing to cross boundaries and engage people on their own turf as it were.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

222. Developing a Rule and Rhythm of Life in Church Planting

Founding a new community will lead you to encounter unusual levels of chaos. New people, new places, new plans, and new priorities are just a few of the dynamics at work behind the chaotic experience of a planter. Although typically avoided, chaos is not always a bad thing. Under the right conditions, it can actually facilitate growth and innovation. This is why we often see a new leader(s) emerge during chaotic situations. In fact, one of the staple features of leadership is the ability to bring order out of chaos. Those who manage to facilitate order in the midst of chaos are often invested by the group with charisma. That is, the group deems such people as being worthy of following.
In the beginning phases of a plant, it is often the leader(s) charisma that provides the initial energy in the life of the new group. The leader(s) vibe (personality), vision, values and virtues serve as a point of reference around which the group will organize itself. Without this point of reference in the leader(s), a new group will struggle with a sense of identity and purpose.