Important principles with Senge’s Limits to Growth systems archetype

G. Important principles with Senge’s Limits to Growth systems archetype:

1. Systems exist to prevent change; in nature, major changes usually end in death.

2. Nothing changes unless something happens in a reinforcing process. All church growth strategies take place as changes in the reinforcing process process.

3. Unavoidable consequences painfully shrink growth when a Competency Limit is reached and the balancing process is unable to cope or is destroyed.

4. A thermostat correction occurs when current reality strays beyond a perceived boundary, and the system responds to bring reality back within the boundaries of a comfort zone.

5. Anxiety provokes a thermostat correction in human systems to cause the balancing process to act. The goal of the balancing process in a correction is to preserve a healthy homeostasis before the pain of a competency limit is reached.

6. Pushing the trend of the reinforcing process to force change only increases anxiety and the intensity of the balancing process response to reverse change.

7. Multiple combinations of reinforcing process and balancing processes can exist simultaneously in a system.

HOMEWORK Discussion Questions:

1.07 Where have you observed a reinforcing process at work in your life or community? Explain.

1.08 Where have you observed a balancing process at work in your life or community? Explain.

1.09 Can you think of an example of a competency limit?

1.10 Can you think of an example of a thermostat correction?

1.11 Can you think of an example of someone pushing the trend?





[1] The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

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