Sunday, June 18, 2006

Our institutions are growing larger and smaller simultaneously

We backed into multi-site. It's not something we intentionally tried to do. It was more like a disruptive moment where we faced a problem and saw an opportunity.
Those sound like the words of a business innovator, not a theologian. While the author is probably very conservative theologically, he is clearly an innovator in leveraging new communications technology to reinvent the business model of the church. I've commented before on a growing phenomena sometimes also called the "cellular church."

Leaders of the movement even draw comparisons to business themselves.
Yesterday. "That's the First National Bank at the corner of Main and Washington, and directly across from it is First Church, where we have been members since we moved here thirty years ago. The college is up on the hill, our hospital is about a half mile to the west, and our doctor has his office in that building over there."

Today.
"That's the First National Bank, but I haven't been there for years. We do all our banking at a branch supermarket where we buy groceries. We're members of First Church, but we go to their east-side campus, which is near our house. We have one congregation but three meeting places—a small one on the north side, the big one out where we live, and the old building downtown here. The old college on the hill is now a university. This is their main campus, but they also offer classes at three other locations. We're members of an HMO that has doctors in five locations, but my primary-care physician is in a branch about a mile from where we live. I've never been in the main hospital except to visit a couple of friends."

This illustrates the direction our world is going—our institutions are growing larger and smaller simultaneously, blending the strength that size offers with the comfort and convenience of smaller, closer venues. This is one example of what Jim Collins in Built to Last called "the genius of the AND," the paradoxical view that allows you to pursue both A and B simultaneously.
One of the things interesting about this movement is that they are so clear about how they are inventing this new business model. They outline "eight other advantages that all demonstrate the genius of the AND." It's insightful reading.

2 comments:

Dave Ferguson said...

Thanks for the post and the link to my article. I am the Lead Pastor at Community Christian Church, one of those innovative multi-site churches. You are correct, I think of myself as a spiritual entrepreneur. I have a tremendous interest in innovation and would love to know what book/resource you would recommend that lays out a process for how innovation most often happens. Thanks!

Dave Ferguson said...

Thanks for the post and the link to my article. I am the Lead Pastor at Community Christian Church, one of those innovative multi-site churches. You are correct, I think of myself as a spiritual entrepreneur. I have a tremendous interest in innovation and would love to know what book/resource you would recommend that lays out a process for how innovation most often happens. Thanks!