Learning about change

in Christian organisations

For many years, my team and I have been working on our organization’s vision to help children become all that God intends them to be. I searched for planning tools on managing a vision, but there were none. I asked, ‘what are the indicators to know how much of the vision is achieved? How do know we are progressing towards achieving this vision?’ Especially in India that has 448 million children. However we see that people who value children and value working with the church have been with us since 2007. They have kept this vision going.

To have people on-board with common values is the first step towards accomplishing the vision. The next step is to survey the external environment, analyse core group strengthens and list the threats. The rest is common sense management practice - develop a strategy, pilot the project, showcase the success, form partnership agreements around common goals, pray for God’s discernment in every decision, keep calm and carry on.

Enough said. The purpose of writing this is to initiate a discussion on managing a vision that can help visionary leaders to discover appropriate tools and techniques for achieving their God given vision. Hope to hear more on this subject.

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This is such an interesting topic to me. I wonder if it is really a more efficient and effective type process to rely on guidance via human visionaries with common interests who develop a shared list of threats within the Church;instead of making room for the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us and transcend us beyond what we can judge or know in loving unity.

Isaiah 32 directs me. The coming of the Holy Spirit does not immediately bring about God's justice and vision...it's not until the fertile field becomes as a forest that this happens. It appears we have a fertile field. But my observations of the Church today is that we have built many human green houses all across the fertile field with human common interest and lists of threats. Each house claims to receive the sun (Son) and each house protects it structure vehemently. But I wonder how the fertile field can become as a forest if the fertile field can not grow beyond it's structure.
So by way of suggestion and an addendum to last message. It's my belief that each tree has to grow to become like a forest. It's my belief the best thing leaders of the Church can do to find God's vision is to teach each one how to grow by receiving and listening to the Holy Spirit and to talk about how God changes our heart as we grow. If we really allow this work to happen in us, God will be able to break the human structures we have put in place. It's my belief that it is this way that Jesus Christ then is truly accepted as being the Head of the Church.
Taking the metaphor of limiting human built green houses a step further: It appears to me, that almost since the third century when church buildings (or greenhouses) started to be erected that we have often added a house that we deem as poorly erected to our list of threats. So some home units have sought to tear down or wag it's finger at the walls of those homes. Christianity then, becomes about the walls built and not the living vegetation trying to grow in each house. Yet for a fertile field to become as a forest, it is important for each plant to be able to find growth. Some greenhouses have been somewhat successful at furthering the growth of their plants by breaking their glass ceiling, and really are intent on drinking in God's holy rain and depending more on God for growth. The sides and floor remain, hoever. But I suggest that these groupings of life still can not be fertilized or really become fertile until the roots can grow more deeply and have a true common ground from which to grow. I am suggesting that for the forest to evolve we need to be more concerned about breaking up the floor of our own structure so we can share the ground in which the Holy rain falls and the soil with all the other structures. Then true learning and growing takes place for each tree. The willingness to grow and come together in this way allows God more room to show us all where there is more fertile soil. The eternal internal growth of each tree is not hindered.

 

The forest has different types of terrain. I am reminded of the parable of the sower some people call it parable of the soils. Jesus says those who receive the seed on good ground will bear fruit. Quoting from NLT  Mat 13 - 3 to 23 

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

The Purpose of Parables
And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.’
But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

The Parable of the Sower Explained
“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

Yes, these passages do apply. I am relating to the Christian Church's field, where there is fruit. The fruit bears much in the individual plant. Yet Scripture also points to growth within each individual seed who has found fertile ground and hindrances to growth within the Church because of separation. In other words, we need to keep listening and gather together via what the word plants in our heart "like hens." Our maturity or growth is very dependent on how we walk and respect each other and our differences.
And I guess more to the point of the discussion. God continues to send the Rain of the Holy Spirit to guide us. 1 John 2:27
"But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him."


Yes it is the collective produce from the forest that matters. The trees, the berries, the vines and creepers, the thorns and thistles all form an eco system that provides fruit, wood, shelter to animals and oxygen to breath. The forest makes the barren land fertile. So it is with the church.  All members of the church are the body of Christ. The mature members (the trees) need to protect the weak (vines) in the church. The less honourable need to be covered with care as written in 1 Cor 12: 20-27. 'Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”

In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.'

What a beautiful response! I believe God blesses you richly in your leadership position and I see your knowledge of Scripture; believe I can see a well guided heart as well. I have visited and talked with leaders within a number of denominations and there truly appears to be leaders like you within each denomination. Yet the protection piece, that I believe comes from an honorable place, ends up, by way of my puny experiences, to be driven by opposing doctrines and often brings unbelievable conflict and hardship.

I found God or God found me on a swingset when I was pretty young. Although I believe there has been doctrine that harmed me as I grew, I did not find my healing or wholeness or direction then via another doctrine. Our Triune God brought me the lessons directly to my heart and has been my Protector. I believe it is the only place where there is true protection, since we are limited and all can only interpret Scripture and prayer via our limited lives. I think it is good and Biblical that shepherds seek to protect the flock. But it's my belief that the best protection is helping the seedlings to find how to draw on the vision produced by the Son (sun)...for the shepherd to point to where the Holy Spirit (water)is. I do not know if you think differently. You may view finding vision for your local church to be exactly this. But I have enjoyed this discussion (thus far, not necessarily ending it) and really thank you for it.

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