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The Only Thing Constant is Change

Deborah Stollery

Most everyone I know agrees with the title of this article intellectually.  None of us remain unaffected by advances in technology, in transportation, and in science.   We know things change and we change with them.  Just the other day I encountered my first robot working in the grocery store.  It moved like Rosy from the Jetsons, had big eyes on a rotating head and was nearly soundless.  And it was weird in a smiley-face sort of way.  Strange.

Jesus was all about change as well.  He began his public ministry by telling us what he would change:  blindness, imprisonment, drudgery, and oppression.  And then he went on to tell  his listeners that what is needed is to repent.  Yep.  To change.

So why is it then that the Church is so change averse?  What contributes to that?  What kind of leaders emerge in change-averse cultures?  How are they treated?  How change averse is your diocese or parish? How do you see this and other elements that make up the culture of your diocese or parish?

Go to the top floor.  That’s how.  Get a bird’s eye view, a look from the penthouse, or from a helicopter flying at 500 feet. From “up there” you can see patterns, habits, distractions, traffic jams, poor construction and more.  What do you need to be able to interpret what you see?  Concepts to help you frame, categorize and then share what you are seeing.

Leaders who are willing to see from the top-floor need ideas like the infinite game from Simon Sinek.  Leaders looking from the bird’s eye at their ecclesial organization need to understand what the whirlwind and clericalism actually are, what they look like and what they cause.  Leaders up in that helicopter also need to embrace the leadership concepts of transformation and humility as interpretive lenses.

Leadership guru Simon Sinek’s latest book The Infinite Game provides a framework for looking at your organization.  Are you using leadership approaches fit for a finite game when the Church is clearly an organization tasked with the infinite game?  Does that help explain what you see from the top-floor?

Remember Dorothy and Toto, caught in the whirlwind/cyclone in the Wizard of Oz?  Yep.  Whirlwinds are powerful and they can rob entire dioceses or parishes of the focus and energy needed to follow Jesus and lead others to him.  What’s a whirlwind?  It’s the everyday grind of an organization’s life.  It’s all the stuff that has to get done…and it’s what prevents change from happening.  See that from the top-floor?

Up there at 500 feet, what kind of leadership do you see?  Do you see leaders who themselves are engaged in ongoing conversion, becoming more and more like Jesus, putting on the mind of Christ, repenting…do you see leaders who have set up organizations for guiding people along the transformation pathway?  Is it part of the dioceses’ or parish’s culture that those connected with it change and so the systems and structures change?  And does humility characterize the leaders:  power used to enable others, rolling up sleeves to pitch in, persistence and consistence minus dominance and dismissiveness?  Do all the ecclesial leaders eat last?

The top-floor view needs concepts like this in order to frame, interpret and share what you see from “up there.”  Want to know more?  Ask us about Equipping the Saints.   We’re  committed to forming leaders equipped to lead as Jesus did!

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