Learning about change

in Christian organisations

The Learning Organization; Global Information and Standards; Guidance from the Head of our Church

The juxtaposition of Gary Kamaal's November 28th entry and Pieter Messelink's recent entry stirs me to write. What appears to me to be an important factor, (correct me if I'm wrong), via Peter Senge is to have a "capacity to see and work with the flow of life as a system." Senge writes, "Leaders of learning organizations are responsible for building organizations where people continually expand their capabilities to understand complexity, clarify vision, and improve shared mental models. More precisely leaders are responsible for learning." [The Fifth Discipline] Chris Argyris speaks of "reflective openness."

When I read Gary Kamaal's entries, I believe he has a real handle on what learning organizations are. However, as I believe he points out; we have a different stage. It is no longer local. I would add, no longer even easy to determine what set of values we should espouse that can be heard and enhance growth. Reflective openness within a local environment promotes learning. I question our ability to do attain this growth outside our limited understanding we have as humans on a world stage. Can we have enough compassion and understanding of cultures and languages that are so different than ours? Can we as leaders mold disciples to that extent by our own local lights and understanding of who God is and who we are in God? Can "reflective openness" really happen via our limited understandings, when we have at least 4 different formulas for sanctification, at least 4 different formulas of the end times, 4 or 5 ways on how we think we ought to listen to the Holy Spirit, many different formulas in how we interpret Scripture, many different ideas in how to interpret Spiritual gifts. I can't help but reflect on the fact that we have had a global stage for some years now and in that time I read that statistically, Christianity overall is fairly stagnant and, I believe, has been for at least a century. Since it is God who grows the Church...what might He be saying to us via this stagnation? I have wondered if God is telling us that we need to judge less whether our interpretations of Scripture and how's an what nots of growing a disciple are according to God's will; but consider more how to be united on love so God can work us better from inside out, instead of outside in. I wonder if we have to give God more room to guide us. Maybe our efforts would be more fruitful in teaching young Christian's how to listen to God, and how to reflect over Scripture to hear God's principals for their life and learn from God more directly. Maybe it's about bringing God more into our Learning Organization.

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I agree. My daughter showed me a clip the other day when people on the streets in the USA were asked what one word would they use to describe the church. The main one was 'judging'. We must live out Jesus command 'do not judge'.  I think your solutions on helping people experience God in their lives, rather than just know about him intellectually or focus on divisive doctrine are spot on.

Rick, is it possible to get name and/or access to the clip your daughter showed you? I believe the learning organization via a world stage is what will make the fertile field as a forest (Isaiah 32:15+) and the plans God has for us to be "plans for good and not for disaster, to give [us] a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11). Note that Isaiah 32:15+ does not say when the fertile field grows into a forest, but rather "as a forest, or like a forest." [Scripture uses metaphore that likens us to the trees]A healthy forest with healthy soil, and healthy foliage and productivity does not come about because of human cultivation. A healthy forest is damaged via human cultivation and activity! It is believed that the virgin forests had the healthiest soil on earth at one time. It is believed that we no longer have virgin forests because of human interference. But even today;even though the tropical forests and forests with tall tree trunks and long life can have survive in poorer soils, the humidity and greater source of water (metaphorically the Holy Spirit) thrive and make the forest thrive. Especially where there is great diversity in the types of trees, and when the receptiveness of the trees ability to take in the water and moisture vary. What makes it all work is not just the great pouring out of the water and humidity [Holy Spirit], or the closeness of the sun [Son]; but the closeness of the different kinds of trees growing up very close together [Christian love].

I truly believe that the fertile fields that have spread around the world via local churches are God's plan and imagine that God will say to Gary Kamaal and other faithful leaders, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" However, the world stage now needs a learning organization to develop our denominations closer together where what is primary is the focus of our receptivity of the rain [Holy Spirit] as we grow closely together.
We need to find a global shared mental model. We need to team build from our very roots. We need to find and understand together and know how to follow our Visionary- God. We need to see ourselves all as learners and stop judging our fellow Christian Church.

If God wants us to become as a forest, it seems to me the best way to understand what God wants is to observe the forest. And observably, our greatest forests have sprang up from well watered, and fairly shallow root systems. Seemingly not a formula that is capable of supporting huge trees. But the intermingling and sharing of soil and the closeness of roots of varying trees actually, as I understand it, are a major factor that supports the large trees. It is interesting that the bark of the trees thin out and become smoother in a mature rainforest because the air is so saturated with water [Holy Spirit] that there is no longer a need for the bark to protect the evaporation rate of the tree...so all the different trees lose many of their distinguishing features. God warns in Isaiah 32:19 that we will see a sign of God's wrath if the forest comes down. And yet where different Churches exist together there is very much a sense of turf wars. We think nothing of damaging the forest if it does not look like us or interpret Scipture like us, etc. out of our judgement.

Ezekiel 47 also might instruct in a like manner, in the metaphor of the Great River flowing out of the Sanctuary. Note that a man keeps measuring the water as he guides Ezekiel more deeply into the River. But when the River gets too deep for the man to guide [Priests and Pastors?] then Ezekiel is brought to the safety of the bank where there is a promise of "...all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither and their fruit will not fail. They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing." Observantly, large trees are able to remain upright within the shallow and well watered soil next to a river because the roots underneath the soil grow quickly and together...similar to the rainforest. The trees spring up where the water is deep and beyond the measurement of humans, unlike swamps and marshes, because there is simply a great receptivity by each tree to the deep and abundant water [Holy Spirit].

What a fascinating analogy of trees and forests. I had not idea. I'm trying to chase up that clip you asked for.

Thank you Rick!
Correction and addition: I am working myself with these metaphores. I said Christianity was stagnant over century...here I meant to say decade...it is an error to say century. My addition: Isaiah 32 ends, "How blessed will you be, you who sow beside all waters, who let out freely the ox and the donkey." I understand there is Scripture that alludes to not allowing the ox and donkey be yoked together. But Isaiah 32 says something different. It is not talking about the ox or donkey being yoked; not at ALL...but for them to, "be let out freely." Is the Church not supposed to be guiding the plow? Is that God's job? Are we more blessed if we take care of the tools God gives us and once released let God be the Guide and Our Teacher? I wonder if a learning organization that comes together at the roots of our Christian beliefs could achieve a more perfect soil for the seeds to be grown.

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