THE “WISDOM” OF AGE?

Seth Godin shares this comment on his blog:

Seth’s Blog

Senior management

“A newly-retired executive takes a job as an adjunct professor and really shakes things up. Both the school and the students are blown away by her fresh thinking and new approaches.

A forty-year old internet executive who has been running his company for decades misses one new trend after another, because he’s still living in 1998.

One thing that happens to management when they get senior is that they get stuck. (As we saw with the new professor, senior isn’t about old, it’s about how long you’ve been there).

If you’ve been doing it forever, you discover (but may not realize) that the things that got you this power are no longer dependable.

Reliance on the tried and true can backfire (Rupert keeps missing one opportunity after another, and keeps misunderstanding the medium he works in) or it can (rarely) pay off (Steve Jobs keeps repeating the same business model again and again–it’s not an accident that Apple has no real online or social media footprint. Steve believes in beautifully designed objects, closed systems and evangelizing to developers and creatives).

Worth quoting–one of Arthur C. Clarke’s lesser known three laws:  “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is probably wrong.”

The paradox is that by the time you get to be senior, the decisions that matter the most are the ones that would be best made made by people who are junior…”

I am convinced that thriving churches, churches that pursue immeasurably more, are churches that actively seek and listen to the voices of younger leadership.  Godin’s observation provides are important explanation as to why this must be a value of the Church.  “… your young men will dream dreams” says the prophet Joel.

What are you doing to identify, encourage, equip and then follow younger leadership?

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CULTURAL ARCHITECT

Wayne Cordeiro and Robert Lewis. along with Warren Bird have written an excellent book called Culture Shift: Transforming Your Church from the Inside Out (Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series). In it they speak of the pastor (or lead pastor) as the chief “cultural architect” of a church. The concept reminds me of several deep truths about the church, but particularly the church that seeks to be a “bridge to the Bridge (Jesus Christ).

1.Every church has a culture.

2. Our culture naturally shapes the way we live.

3. If we don’t shape our culture, our culture shapes us.

Most of the churches in existence today were born into a culture where the institutional church had a significant place at the table. There was a certain synchronicity between the values of the general American culture and the values of the church. The church had a fairly simple task to make disciples because the culture provided a certain amount of elemental support to the mission of the church.

Culture has a powerful shaping influence. Despite the presence of the church at the table, our culture has developed a strong consumer mindset rather than a servant one. A consumer mentality seeks first and foremost to meet the felt needs of the consumer.

Religious satisfaction (read, religion that meets my felt needs) was often the first order of business for most churches and most church people. That tended to give churches a strong inward focus, rather than an outward one because the incentive to meet the needs of the already persuaded often used up most of the resources, leaving little for persuading others to become reconciled to God. The prevailing culture (which was less and less influenced by the church) made most Christians at the end of the 20th century more consumers of religious services than servants of the mission of Christ.

Bridgebuilding requires first a culture that values bridgebuilding. That means a church must intentionally be structured around a mission to reach and reconcile lost people to God. It must be a culture that sees itself as missionary in nature and to intentionally imbed the values needed to be on a mission from God.

That begins with the pastor–the person responsible for equipping the saints to do the work of the ministry. That also means that the pastor must be committed to the missionary nature of the church. That, of course, means that the pastor must be intentional about helping shaping the lives under his care with the values of Christ.

Those values come the Word, from scripture. Part of the reason the church has been so often been shaped by the culture is that the values of the church were more religiously cultural than biblical. The cultural architect must first start with the blueprint of his Architect (the real Chief Cultural Architect) lest he try to design the unique expression that is his congregation that is disconnected from the power and blessing of God.

And the cultural arhitect must be sure that he is being shaped by his Arhitect. That means that the cultural architect (pastor) must himself first be led by the Spirit so he can do his part in shaping a culture (a church) that is led by the Spirit.

This article originally appeared on the blogsite BRIDGEBUILDERS