Reform or Refunction? January 31, 2012Posted by Dan R. Dick in Church Leadership, Core Values, Critical Thinking, Identity & Purpose, Strategic Planning, The United Methodist Church.
Tags: Church Leadership, Mission & Purpose, The United Methodist Church, Values, Vision
Well, what do you know, I basically agree with the General Secretaries of our General Boards and Agencies (with a few exceptions): we should be very clear about the missional outcomes we are trying to produce before we determine the best structure to adopt. Amazing. There are some in the church that actually believe that what we are trying to accomplish should impact how we structure to do our work. Knowing who we are, why we exist, and what we need to do all precedes the discussion of how to do it! Brilliant. A history of tinkering with a broken system and then trying to figure out what to do with it may actually come to an end… Nah, that’s hoping for too much. We won’t actually change the system — we will merely rearrange what doesn’t work into new configurations that don’t work, then wonder why. That, my friends, is the Methodist way.
Settling January 25, 2012Posted by Dan R. Dick in Christian witness, Church Leadership, Identity & Purpose, The United Methodist Church.
Tags: Church Leadership, The United Methodist Church, Vision
I was speaking with one of our retired bishops recently, who framed the current recommendations this way, “Well, it’s better than no plan at all.” There are so many things wrong with this statement, and each one is more depressing than the last. If the plans are poor plans, then, no, it is not better to follow them than to not. If they are inadequate plans, then it is not better to have them. If they are racist, it is definitely not better. But, see, part of the problem is that we are being sold a bill of goods, and there isn’t really any place for open discussion. Criticisms are merely deflected, and opposing views aren’t even allowed in many places. Counter-proposals are no better than those they seek to improve, and we have whole delegations doing the “drink-the-kool-aid” mindless fall-in-line. The deeper questions of identity and purpose are ignored for questions of structure — but all based in miscommunication and rhetoric.
The Mediocrity of More January 18, 2012Posted by Dan R. Dick in Christian discipleship, Christian witness, Church growth, Congregational Planning, Core Values.
Tags: Church growth, Church Leadership, Vision
Pick up a ball, toss it in the air, catch it. Take two balls and toss them one at a time, catch them. So far, so good. Very few dropped balls. Take a third and juggle them. With practice, you become sure-handed and drop very few. But what about four or five balls? Much harder to keep them moving without dropping some. Not so impressive when the balls drop frequently. Incredibly difficult to keep many balls in the air without error. There is a basic quality/quantity trade-off. Those who can juggle five or six balls flawlessly are indeed impressive; but a person who juggles three balls perfectly is more impressive than one who juggles five balls poorly. I think there is a lesson here for the church.
Epiphantasy January 6, 2012Posted by Dan R. Dick in Devotional Reflection, Epiphany.
Tags: Christian discipleship, epiphany
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Lo, and behold, travelers from the east and parts southeast and newer developments more to the south actually than the east, were on a quest — some having traveled weeks, others months, others years — all hoping to discover the Messiah promised to the Jews, but with anticipated collateral benefits for various and sundry gentiles, Pagans, and an occasional Druid. Dozens of seers, prophets, magi, prognosticators, and visionaries milled together with camels, mules, donkeys, and one totally confused llama. A few straggled behind.
“Where are we bound this time?” one asked.
“We have heard a rumor that the Messiah may come from Nazareth,” answered a second.
“Nazareth??” exploded a third. “What possible good can come from Nazareth? That’s miles from here!”
“That’s what they are saying,” replied the first. “But the buzz is firstest-rate.”