Exponential – Change Management in Churches with Auxano

I also attended a workshop by Auxano, a church consulting firm who love diagrams!

The workshop was described as:

God has a better future for you and your ministry. But for too long church leaders have cooked with one recipe of success that can be labeled, “more of the same, the same way.” Unfortunately, fewer people are interested in “church as usual.” And now, with ever increasing cultural changes from social media and technology to post-Christian values and the economy, the church must be ready to adapt and innovate. But how do you rethink your basic recipe of ministry? How do begin to discover stunningly new possibilities for your church? In Four Paths to the Future, will provide a foundational perspective to guide every other conversation about church strategy and vision.

They presented a lot of change management ideas.  For example, in the above image, they drew a matrix of desired results, and models used.  In my case, I long to see new disciples made (a new thing) in a new way (a new model).  That means we are creating – not to be confused with infusing a new mission into an existing model, maximizing an existing model and mission, or adapting an existing mission to fit in a new model.

They spoke at length about the danger of measuring results using the same measure as our input – an “input result only” system.  If we put our efforts into increasing attendance, even with success, that will be our result – increased attendance.  But in churchland, that is never meant to be and end to itself!  Our impact is meant to be world-changing, life-changing as people learn to follow Jesus!  That means we need to reconsider input – how do we invest our time, money, people, etc. to support that output, rather than spinning our wheels focusing on secondary matters?  They said the challenge, of course, is that input results are easy to measure, pay the rent, and provide easy validation, even though they are not our goal.

Finally, they suggested that three models exist for change in church today.  More is more is the first, and the best example is Willow Creek’s attempt to be seeker-sensitive in the last few decades.  The theory was that by having the best of everything at a church service, people would move from to “churchspace” from the rest of “lifespace”.

The second says “Less is more” and the best example is Thom Rainer’s book, Simple Church.  The idea here is that if the church can simplify its structures and programs, it can make space for intentional outreach into the community that connects those outside churchspace with those inside.

The third model says “To be is more” and is the emerging missional model.  In this model, the boundaries between churchspace and lifespace are porous, as the gospel is take into every part of life.  This is, of course, the model I favour 🙂

Having studied engineering, and being a system kind of thinker, this material appeals to me – and everyone loves a good diagram!

We were invited to draw a system diagram like the ones above, for our own church.  I know with reconnect, I once drew this one:

The idea was that a relationship with God, through Christ and his action on the cross alone, was at the center – it was the point.  Our church had three ways of interaction with three communities – missional communities for serving needs based around food and nature for those with absolutely no church connection, our Sunday night community for community building, basic discipleship and worship with those having a past church connection looking to try again, and small groups for discipleship of our members who want to go deep.  We could envision the path people might follow toward a vital relationship with God through these different circles.

I’m still working out what I’d draw for Redeemer Church.  What would your church’s diagram look like?  Why?