What kind of system builder are you? Are you the kind that needs every i dotted and every t crossed? Or can you roll with "good enough?" Do you need full disclosure and fine print? Or can you take your first steps with a handshake and the gut sense that you're heading in the general direction?
Do you need to build the system first? Or can you build the system as you go?
Let me suggest that one of the keys to grouplife at crowd's edge...is to build the bridge as you walk on it. In other words, don't spend precious resources desperately pursuing problem-free (it doesn't exist anyway). Instead, start moving in the right direction and develop infrastructure as you go.
Why Is This a Key to GroupLife at Crowd's Edge?
Building the bridge as you walk on it is a key to grouplife at Crowd's Edge for several reasons. First, the temptation to endlessly talk about next steps (and never get around to taking them) is akin to sharing prayer requests and never praying. Who has not seen that happen more than a few times?
Second, we seem to have an innate inclination to seek ground-breaking and problem-free when small and good enough will get it going. See Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries for more on this, but trust me, most of the time we already know enough to take first steps.
Third, time really is of the essence! Regardless of your theology, these are different days and there is no sign of a return to the good old days when unchurched people knew to come to a church for help and a different life. If you want to be a player in the effort to reach the widening 60% who will not be reached by an attractional model...you're going to have to do different things. Note: it is not enough to plan to do different things.
Example of Building the Bridge as You Walk On It
So, how does it work? How would you begin to operate from this mindset? Here are three steps that will get you moving in the right direction:
- Begin by reading The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons and And: The Gathered and Scattered Church by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay. You need to build an accurate sense of the issue. These two books will help you develop a better awareness.
- Have a dream session using The X-Factor is Near the Edge, The Perils of the Well-Worn Path, and The Pursuit of Problem-Free as a reading assignment to be done in preparation.
- Plan a church-wide campaign using a study from the easy end of the easy/hard continuum. Read my collection, Top 10 Articles on Church-Wide Campaigns, particularly How to Sequence a Small Group Launch.
By the way, I got the metaphor of building a bridge while you walk on it from the great book by Robert E. Quinn by the same title.
What do you think? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.
Need help? I love working with churches who are trying to figure out ways to connect the widening 60%. Sometimes the place to start is a phone call. Here's how to schedule one.
Image by GlacierGuyMT