NACOS 0.1 PREFACE: “Our pre-class discussion will happen on Facebook …”

NACOS 0.1 PREFACE: “Our pre-class discussion will happen on Facebook …”
Congregational Care 323 – Native American Course of Study
Director: Rev. Dr. Michelle Oberwise Lacock

Navigating these posts:
In the top and bottom right hand corners of each post you will see links to move to the next post in the sequence. (WordPress blog posts are in reverse order – the last one is on top and the first one is at the bottom.)
Each is numbered in order.
Click on these links to begin reading in order in each section:

Preface – Getting Organized (This post – 1 of 4)
NACOS 0.1 PREFACE: “Our pre-class discussion will happen on Facebook …”
https://ambidextrouschurch.com/2020/12/01/nacos/

Understanding personal and congregational loss. (1 of 3)
NACOS 1.1 Understanding personal loss.
https://ambidextrouschurch.com/2020/12/01/nacos-1-1-1-1-understanding-personal-loss/

William Worden’s Four Tasks of Mourning (1 of 5)
NACOS 2.1: Worden’s first task, which is to “Accept the Reality of the Loss.”
https://ambidextrouschurch.com/2020/12/01/nacos-2-1/

NACOS 3.1: Peter Senge’s Limits to Growth systems archetype (1 of 1)
https://ambidextrouschurch.com/2020/12/01/nacos-3-1-senges-limits-to-growth-systems-archetype-2/

The Diffusion of Innovations Adopter Framework. (1 of 8)
NACOS 4.1: A Parable: The Stainless Steel Church
https://ambidextrouschurch.com/2020/12/01/nacos-4-1-a-parable-the-stainless-steel-church/

Instructor for the 12/13 Session – Contact information:
David O Kueker (pronounced “key-ker”)
dkueker@yahoo.com
Cell: 618-780-0151 (phone or text)
Facebook: David Oliver Kueker

Prior to our discussion on December 13, I wanted to be able to introduce the concepts for our discussion and give you an experiential opportunity to work with them in the week prior to our Zoom meeting. We’ll have that “discussion before the class discussion” on our class Facebook page.

Where does this material originate?
My Fuller Theological Seminary 2008 Doctor of Ministry project sought to bring an understanding of 3rd world “lay driven” cell church methods of evangelism and disciple making to small Midwestern United Methodist congregations of 100 or less in average attendance. This material is drawn from the chapter written to address congregational resistance to these new methods. The entire project is available to you to read after our class concludes, but it isn’t necessary for our class time at all.

Our pre-class discussion will happen on Facebook as you provide a brief response to the “quote” and information in the post and then applying that information to your ministry context. (If you do not work with a local church congregation at this time, you may answer the question by relating it to your current ministry context or to any local congregation with whom you are familiar, past or present.)

The purpose here will be to recognize the mental model at work in your congregation and reflect on how you would respond. Evaluation will be based on the level of understanding you reveal in your “Assignment Question” comment.

A Facebook comment allows you to edit or add information to your comment at any time.
(On a PC, look for three dots: … Click there and select “edit” to edit your comment.)
You can also reply to the comments of others.
If you have a question to ask me, please begin your comment with “QUESTION:” and I will respond. It’s OK to chase rabbits here!

Cultural Apologies: My awareness of Native American culture comes from several friendships with Native Americans. I want to confess and provide an apology in advance for any misunderstanding on my part which would bring an offense to any of you due to my ignorance of your culture. Please help me to learn from any mistakes.

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NACOS 5.0 – HOMEWORK

Topic #5: Homework:
Please write 1-2 single-spaced typed pages to briefly answer these three questions while showing that you understand the concepts.

  1. Utilizing the terminology of William Worden’s Four Tasks of Mourning, name 4 persons you know that are an example of each of the Four Tasks of Mourning.
    What are they experiencing in their struggle? How could you be helpful as a pastor?

2. Utilizing the terminology of reinforcing & balancing loops and congregational anxiety, how is your congregation coping with the loss of control and the “way we have always done it before” with the unwanted change that is the Coronavirus? How could you be helpful as a pastor to your congregational leadership?

3. Utilizing the terminology of the Diffusion of Innovations, reflect on how your Conference is attempting to encourage the adoption of new innovations in worship to keep people safe.
Which adopter group is in charge at the Conference level?
Which adopter group is running the local church?
How is this adoption/adjustment working or not working?
How could you be helpful as a pastor?

Please send back within four days to Michelle and David.

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NACOS 4.8 – Sermon 05/31/20: Coping with COVID in the context of PTSD

NACOS 4.8 – Sermon 05/31/20: Coping with COVID in the context of PTSD

Topic #2: Addressing patterns of grief, stress and anxiety in congregations after a tragedy through “Worship as Pastoral Care.” Here is the third of three sermons to provide “worship as pastoral care” to help my congregation in crisis.

4.8 – Sermon 05/31/20: What Do You Need … To Believe? (Pentecost)
(Coping with COVID in the context of PTSD)
Liturgy & Transcript: https://kinmundychurch.org/2020/05/sermon-05-31-20-what-do-you-need-to-believe-pentecost/
Look within for links to Sermon audio … Sermon slides as a PDF file.

Personal reflection:
What in this sermon was helpful to you?
What was the human need or problem addressed in the message?
What was the solution suggested in the message?

The goal of this learning exercise is not to analyze the content of the sermon but to experience it and consider how you can use experiences from your own personal life or culture to help others respond in times of crisis in a helpful and healthy manner.

ASSIGNMENT QUESTION: (in the comments on Facebook)
What resources from your personal experiences, what you have read, or from your culture – stories, traditions, rituals – would be helpful to your congregation in …

Remaining nonanxious in a time of crisis.
Facing the reality of the loss? Living honestly in that new reality?
Dealing with the symptoms of PTSD?

(Note: PTSD is a technical, diagnostic term used by therapists in a very specific way to identify very specific emotional trauma. My use of the term in this message is in a nonprofessional, “laity level understanding” which may have little resemblance to how a psychological professional would define the term. For a professional definition of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) DSM-5 309.81 (F43.10), see https://www.theravive.com/therapedia/posttraumatic-stress-disorder-(ptsd)-dsm–5-309.81-(f43.10)#:~:text=10),-DSM%2D5%20Category .)

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NACOS 4.7: #5 of 5: LAGGARDS

Topic #4.7 THE DIFFUSION OF INNOVATIONS ADOPTER FRAMEWORK
Adoption of an innovation (acceptance of change) flows from left to right across the five categories of the diffusion of innovations adopter framework. All cultures and cultural groups respond to a reinforcing trend of change by segmenting into five groups based on their openness to change.

Category #5 of 5: LAGGARDS

QUOTE: Segment Five: Laggards or Skeptics
Pastor: There’s a light bulb burnt out in the sanctuary. Can you help?

Laggard: After a while, the truly faithful really begin to sense God at work in the dark. Perhaps God prefers the dark. When God wants a new bulb, He will change it Himself. Stop interfering with the will of the Lord with your devilish desire to change everything!

INSIGHTS:

  1. Laggards are very local in focus; they don’t talk to outsiders and they tend to communicate only with other Laggards.
  2. Their point of reference is their own past experience, which they repeat without contemplation.
  3. This caution prevents problems that drain resources from being addressed, so Laggards rarely have resources to take chances; their caution is a matter of survival.
  4. It is important not to demonize Laggards; they will always be with us.
  5. Laggards function not only as defenders but as visionaries of the status quo. Laggards can serve to stabilize a system and have the ministry of preserving homeostasis. Once an innovation is adopted, Laggards will eventually preserve it in the system and defend it as “the way we have always done it here.”
  6. Laggards can provide a necessary balance, slowing changes that might have negative, unintended consequences or lead to chaos. Unforeseen problems can arise which make the innovation far worse than the original problem; now the innovation is the primary problem of the culture.
  7. Laggards cannot be persuaded. They will adopt or not in their own time.
  8. As change cannot be prevented, Laggards are under continual pressure from current reality and feel “pushed around.” They are therefore frequently chronically anxious and defensive.
  9. When pushed, Laggards become anxious; when cornered, they can become violent. Laggards would “rather fight than switch.” Laggards often feel disrespected and are concerned with their honor and insults to their self-esteem. They often feel as if they have no option but to engage in defensive behavior that can easily escalate.
  10. Laggards are the covert source of most church conflict.

ASSIGNMENT QUESTION: (in the comments on Facebook)
Who do you know who’s an example of this kind of thinking and approach to a problem in your ministry context?
How would you minister to them?

Image: Light Bulb Parable

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NACOS 4.6: #4 of 5: LATE ADOPTERS

Topic #4.6 THE DIFFUSION OF INNOVATIONS ADOPTER FRAMEWORK
Adoption of an innovation (acceptance of change) flows from left to right across the five categories of the diffusion of innovations adopter framework. All cultures and cultural groups respond to a reinforcing trend of change by segmenting into five groups based on their openness to change.

Category #4 of 5: LATE ADOPTERS

QUOTE: Segment Four: Late Adopters (Late Majority) or Conservatives
Pastor: There’s a light bulb burnt out in the sanctuary. Can you help?
Late Adopter: Are you sure we need a new bulb? There’s nothing wrong with the old bulb. Give it a chance. My mother gave that bulb to the church as a memorial to my grandfather; see the plaque next to the fixture? Have you tried praying for healing for the bulb? Where is your faith?

INSIGHTS:

  1. Late Adopters come to adoption through economic necessity, increasing network peer pressure, and not until most others in their system have adopted.
  2. They are cautious and careful, and influenced by their feelings.
  3. Late adopters are nostalgic and prefer the comfort zone of “the way we have always done it before.”
  4. Late Adopters are cautious and will only adopt through recommendations from people they trust; once there is the momentum of a band wagon, however, Late Adopters will want to get on board.
  5. Late adopters rarely adopt until uncertainty is gone; the innovation must be entirely safe, guaranteed and a “sure thing.”
  6. The innovation must be easy for an uninformed person to operate without training. Late adopters don’t want to learn or read the manual; they just want to use the new tool.
  7. It must be a turnkey solution, with few choices or options.
  8. Late adopters want reliability and simplicity of operation, like a toaster.
  9. Late Adopters are often keepers of the rules and historians for the tribal culture. “We tried this 30 years ago and it didn’t work then. Nothing has changed since then.”

ASSIGNMENT QUESTION: (in the comments on Facebook)
Who do you know who’s an example of this kind of thinking and approach to a problem in your ministry context?
How would you minister to them?

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NACOS 4.5: Category #3 of 5: MIDDLE ADOPTERS

Topic #4.5 THE DIFFUSION OF INNOVATIONS ADOPTER FRAMEWORK
Adoption of an innovation (acceptance of change) flows from left to right across the five categories of the diffusion of innovations adopter framework. All cultures and cultural groups respond to a reinforcing trend of change by segmenting into five groups based on their openness to change.

Category #3 of 5: MIDDLE ADOPTERS

QUOTE:  Segment Three: Middle Adopters (Early Majority) or Pragmatists
Pastor: There’s a light bulb burnt out in the sanctuary. Can you help?
Middle Adopter: Sure. (Gets ladder, puts new bulb in.)

INSIGHTS:

  1. Middle Adopters prefer innovations which are continuous improvements on existing comfortable norms and which do not require changes in behavior.
  2. The innovation itself must be simplified to increase safety and reduce anxiety and uncertainty in adoption.
  3. Middle Adopters as pragmatists provide interconnectedness in the system’s interpersonal networks.
  4. Middle Adopters are generally non-anxious.
  5. Middle Adopters want to keep things running smoothly and everyone to get along.
  6. Middle Adopters avoid anxiety and can be codependent overfunctioners; they can be manipulated by the anxiety of others.
  7. Middle Adopters have a practical focus.
  8. Middle Adopters are the pivotal group for achieving critical mass and rapid, S-curve adoption. They link the visionary minority with the pragmatic majority and resistance to change is overcome as Middle Adopters adopt the innovation.
  9. Information spreads on the other side of the chasm by conversations between homophilous individuals that share kinship and enjoy talking with each other. Media presentations favored by visionaries, such as advertising or sermons, are ineffective at reaching people beyond the most innovative 16% of a people group.
  10. Innovators and Early Adopters are excited about innovations that are discontinuous and represent great changes to norms because discontinuity represents a competitive advantage to them. It is necessary for visionaries to control their enthusiasm, shift from confrontational presentation to relational conversation, and carefully recruit pragmatists to adopt in a specific “beachhead” niche market if the innovation is to cross the chasm. The vision itself must be simplified in order to communicate and visionaries are frequently are unwilling to compromise their vision in order that the vision might succeed in the real world.

ASSIGNMENT QUESTION: (in the comments on Facebook)
Who do you know who’s an example of this kind of thinking and approach to a problem in your ministry context? How would you minister to them?

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NACOS 4.4: Category #2 of 5: EARLY ADOPTERS

Topic #4.4 THE DIFFUSION OF INNOVATIONS ADOPTER FRAMEWORK
Adoption of an innovation (acceptance of change) flows from left to right across the five categories of the diffusion of innovations adopter framework. All cultures and cultural groups respond to a reinforcing trend of change by segmenting into five groups based on their openness to change.

Category #2 of 5: EARLY ADOPTERS

QUOTE:  Segment Two: Early Adopters or Visionaries
Pastor: There’s a light bulb burnt out in the sanctuary. Can you help?

Early Adopter: Has anyone analyzed whether it’s in our best interests to spend the extra money on those long lasting bulbs?

INSIGHTS:

  1. Early Adopters are more local and in touch with the local network. They ask questions.
  2. Early Adopters are opinion leaders in the social system.
  3. Early Adopters are “homophilous” – they enjoy conversations with others like them.
  4. Early Adopters are perceived as role models and “the individual to check with.”
  5. Early Adopters have a bias for action and corresponding tendency to be very busy.
  6. Early Adopters want to translate ideas into applications.
  7. Early Adopters love to fine tune the machinery and make things work more efficiently.
  8. Early Adopters will naturally adapt and reinvent innovations for local usage.
  9. It is assumed that once an innovation is enthusiastically supported by early adopters, its success is inevitable. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

BRIDGING TO THE NEXT CATEGORY:

  1. Early Adopters have high energy and frequently do not understand why others don’t immediately see the benefits that they do; they sometimes become impatient, employ a hard sell and push the trend. This raises the level of anxiety in the system and guarantees a Balancing response that prevents change.
  2. Early Adopters can overwhelm a system with new ideas, each one guaranteed to usher in the promised land without cost other than commitment.
  3. Early Adopters s usually present ideas with anxiety, urgency, and pressure to adopt, or perceive urgent problems which require the innovation as the solution; when anxiety goes up, people stop listening and identify the visionaries as the reason for anxiety.
  4. Innovators and Early Adopters project their own emotions on others and are surprised to find that others do not see what is so obvious to them. They tend to repeat information.
  5. Innovators and Early Adopters are fickle and frequently move on to something new before fully implementing their previous brilliant idea.

ASSIGNMENT QUESTION: (in the comments on Facebook)
Who do you know who’s an example of this kind of thinking and approach to a problem in your ministry context? How would you minister to them?

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NACOS 4.3: Category #1 of 5: INNOVATORS

NACOS 4.3: Category #1 of 5: INNOVATORS

Topic #4.3 THE DIFFUSION OF INNOVATIONS ADOPTER FRAMEWORK
Adoption of an innovation (acceptance of change) flows from left to right across the five categories of the diffusion of innovations adopter framework. All cultures and cultural groups respond to a reinforcing trend of change by segmenting into five groups based on their openness to change.

QUOTE: Segment One: Innovators or Technology Enthusiasts
Pastor: There’s a light bulb burnt out in the sanctuary. Can you help?

Innovator: If you’ll just be patient, my nuclear fusion bulb will be at the prototype stage real soon now. Never needs changing and uses no electricity.

INSIGHTS:

  1. Innovators make up 2.5% of any cultural group, and they are the place to begin.
  2. Innovators are addicted to seeking new information in a world of endless possibilities, like to play with new ideas as toys, and are linked across cultures in their search for new information.
  3. They are restless, fickle, easily bored, insatiably curious and often have poor social skills.
  4. While viewed sometimes with suspicion, Innovators remain relationally linked to their home cultural environments; they are cross-cultural bridges, continually bringing outside information into closed environments.
  5. BRIDGING TO THIS CATEGORY: Provide opportunities to explore new ideas from the outside world and the innovator will pursue them and bring them into the local system.
  6. It is only necessary to arouse the innovator’s natural curiosity and they will pursue new ideas.
  7. Innovators are capable of “connecting the dots” between widely disconnected concepts and perceiving new meanings and opportunities.
  8. BRIDGING TO THE NEXT CATEGORY: The first crack where adoption can fail to progress is between Innovators and Early Adopters; the key to overcoming this crack “is to show that the new technology enables some strategic leap forward, something never before possible, which has an intrinsic value and appeal to the nontechnologist …
  9. This benefit is typically symbolized by a single, compelling application …”
  10. Which provides a significant competitive advantage.

ASSIGNMENT QUESTION: (in the comments on Facebook)
Who do you know who’s an example of this kind of thinking and approach to a problem in your ministry context?
How would you minister to them?

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NACOS 4.2: The Diffusion of Innovations Adopter Framework.

Topic #4.2 THE DIFFUSION OF INNOVATIONS ADOPTER FRAMEWORK
Adoption of an innovation (acceptance of change) flows from left to right across the five categories of the diffusion of innovations adopter framework. All cultures and cultural groups respond to a reinforcing trend of change by segmenting into five groups based on their openness to change.

How does this happen?

INSIGHTS

  1. The adoption of an innovation spreads from left to right across the diffusion of innovations adopter framework, from innovators to laggards.
  2. This bell curve relation of openness to change exists in every culture and cultural group. One hundred or one thousand innovators would still exhibit the bell curve within themselves.
  3. What adopter category is the chairman of the Administrative Board? Why?
  4. The Visionary Minority (Innovators and Early Adopters) represent a reinforcing process for change comprising 16% of the whole. Only the Visionary Minority are interested in change.
  5. Middle Adopters, Late Adopters and Laggards represent a Pragmatic Majority that functions as the Balancing process and 84% of the whole. Nothing needs to change.
  6. This is why 90% of change processes fail to “cross the chasm” into the Pragmatic Majority.
  7. If the Visionary Minority brings the proposed change to the whole for a vote, it will immediately be defeated 84% to 16%. When the whole group is made aware of the proposed change, whether by presentation in worship or an attempt to achieve consensus, opposition organizes and failure is guaranteed.
  8. Don’t preach on the change; introduce it into differentiated small group “wineskins” to grow like leaven over time. Successful changes begin quietly in a corner and multiply organically as leaven (Matthew 13:33). All that is needed for transformation to thrive is enough time and permission for diversity to exist.
  9. Critical mass: A “S-shaped diffusion curve ‘takes off’ at about 20-25% adoption, when interpersonal networks become activated so that a critical mass of adopters begins using an innovation.”
  10. Critical mass is the goal of conversation. Once critical mass is achieved, large scale, rapid adoption of the innovation through the Middle Adopters and Late Adopters is inevitable.
  11. Pragmatic majority persuasion reality: adoption proceeds along social networks by word of mouth in conversations with trusted friends. A change in perception changes everything. Conversations change perceptions. Sharing information (media) does not.

REFLECTION:
Do the “insights” make sense? Why or why not?

ASSIGNMENT QUESTION: (in the comments on Facebook)
Which insight is the most helpful for you? Why?

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NACOS 4.1: A Parable: The Stainless Steel Church

NACOS 4.1: A Parable: The Stainless Steel Church

Topic #4.1 Recognizing patterns of congregational segmentation in response to change,
utilizing the Diffusion of Innovations adopter framework. All cultures and cultural groups respond to a reinforcing trend of change by segmenting into five groups based on their openness to change.

Visual parables:
The Stainless Steel Church: http://disciplewalk.com/parable_stainless_steel_church.html

QUOTE: Parable: The Stainless Steel Church
The Chairman of the Administrative Board called the meeting to order. “We have a problem,” he announced gravely, “with mice. They are gnawing holes in the wood and getting into the church.”

The innovator had an unusual idea. “If we tore down the old church and built a new one out of stainless steel, the mice couldn’t gnaw their way in.”

The early adopter saw the advantages. “We would certainly be in the forefront of all the churches in our conference in using this new material to build a church. Just think: it would never rust, never need painting, and last forever.”

The middle adopter was practical. “Wouldn’t it be very hard to work with steel as a building material? You’d have to weld everything. And it wouldn’t be cheap.”

The late adopter was nostalgic. “I would miss the old church of wood. It seems so comfortable and warm to me. Wouldn’t steel be expensive to heat in winter?”

The laggard harrumphed. “My sister has too many cats on her farm. I’ll bring one over tomorrow and it won’t cost us a nickel.”

“Well, I see we’ve solved that problem,” the chair noted. “Now, on to the next problem.”

ASSIGNMENT QUESTION: (in the comments on Facebook)
Who do you know in your congregation who would fill each role in the parable above?
… who has the unusual ideas?
… who sees the advantages? Does the research?
… who is the voice of common sense?
… who is nostalgic … and seeks to be comfortable?
… who harrumphs … and opposes any change?

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NACOS 3.1: Senge’s Limits to Growth systems archetype

NACOS 3.1: Senge’s Limits to Growth systems archetype

Topic #3. Recognizing patterns of conflict and anxiety in congregations.
(Utilizing systems concepts, Reinforcing vs. Balancing Loops, congregational anxiety)

QUOTE: Two processes are at work when there is conflict or resistance to change. Peter Senge’s Limits to Growth systems archetype describes these two systemic processes.

The Reinforcing Loop represents a trend which is intensifying in repeated cycles in order to provoke a change in the status quo. The image for a Reinforcing Loop is a snowball rolling downhill increasing in momentum and intensity. Happiness is an emerging trend.

The image for a Balancing Loop is a teeter-totter; happiness is keeping everything in balance and under control. The balancing process keeps the system cycling in a safe, stable homeostasis, where everything functions smoothly and efficiently.

The balancing process is very powerful and usually prevents the reinforcing process from disturbing homeostasis and successfully changing the system. Small changes in biological systems usually mean the death of the organism. When the trend toward change offers positive benefits and does not threaten or overwhelm the balancing process, the system often adapts by incorporating the trend.

Sometimes the reinforcing process overwhelms the balancing process and disaster results. There is no longer a functional balancing process to bring stability to the system. (Example: Iraq after Saddam Hussein. A tsunami, hurricane or tornado destroying infrastructure. A death or a divorce. OR A CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC.)

INSIGHTS:

  1. Systems exist in nature to provide stability and prevent change.
  2. Leadership pushes for change and stimulates anxiety. The balancing loop responds with systemic resistance to change to maintain stability and soothe anxiety.
  3. Management keeps everything running smoothly, calming anxiety. Management facilitates systemic change during times of crisis and anxiety. (Peter Senge, Fifth Discipline, 101-102.)
  4. It is best for the laity to lead in change while the pastor provides comfort in the balancing loop to soothe and maintain effective homeostasis.
  5. If the system is overwhelmed and the balancing process cannot cope, disaster ensues. Like after a tsunami. Like during a Coronavirus pandemic.
  6. Most accepted leadership prescriptions for change in churches guarantee failure by increasing anxiety in the name of urgency, pushing an agenda, and attempting to overwhelm the balancing process with an atmosphere of fear and crisis. Pushed people push back.
  7. The Wisdom of Small Cuts: When positive changes are small, routine and predictable, the system finds it a simple matter to cope with change. When positive changes are large, infrequent and unexpected, the system reacts to the change as a threat and mobilizes resistance for protection. Change ideally needs to come in the form of thousands of small cuts from the sharp teeth of a saw rather than heavy blows from an axe which shake the whole tree.

REFLECTION:
Do the “insights” make sense? Why or why not?
Which one is most helpful?

ASSIGNMENT QUESTION: (in the comments on Facebook)
Who is the leader of the reinforcing loop in your congregation?
The spokesperson for change and adaptation?

Who is the leader of the balancing loop in your congregation?
The spokesperson for “the way we’ve always done it before” and resistance?

Image: Limits to Growth systems archetype from Peter Senge’s book, The Fifth Discipline.

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