Called to Lead, post 1

Post #1: Getting Unstuck

This blog series will inspire discussion for members of our Called to Lead Groups (Youth leaders and Christian educators in covenanted support and accountability groups.) and anyone else who wants to read the book Faith Formation 2020 by John Roberto with us over the course of the next few months. In October, we will focus on the introduction and Chapter 1 of the book.)

Too often people in churches get stuck in one of two kinds of thinking – denial and fear. We deny that anything in the world and the church are changing; We deny that the church continues to lose members and participants; We deny that the community around us is getting less and less interested in institutional religion. On the other hand, we fear. We fear the realities that contribute to  the decline of the church. We then often become friends with fear’s cousin, blame. We start to point fingers at all the problems out of our control rather than thinking creatively about how we might buy augmentin tablets adapt to these circumstances.

In the first chapter of John Roberto’s Faith Formation 2020, he invites readers to think in scenarios. Scenarios help us at once think about current reality and how we might navigate the challenges and opportunities through long-term thinking and incorporating short-term solutions. “At their most basic, scenarios help people and congregations order and frame their thinking about the long term while providing them with the tools and confidence to take action soon. At their most powerful, scenarios help people and organizations find strength of purpose and strategic direction in the face of daunting, chaotic, and even frightening circumstances.” (Roberto, pg. 7)

Scenario thinking stops us from getting stuck in denial, blame and fear. Instead, people can look at reality for what it is and make plans for adapting to it, even recognizing some of the challenges as opportunities for growth.

How can your church engage in scenario thinking? What can you do to start conversations that look long-term while also moving forward with short-term plans?

6 Responses to Called to Lead, post 1

  1. Mysti says:

    I found reading chapter 1 very difficult. I kept getting lost in the meaning of some of the paragraphs. Once I got settled into the writing style I was able to understand most of it pretty well.
    I did find how our Nation is becoming less of a religious Nation and it deeply saddened me. I mean yes I have been listening to the News and reading the paper, but I guess I’ve just been in denial. I am anxious to learn more about how we can change our thinking to hopefully adapt to our changing culture. It also made me realize how much I am a part of this change and got me to thinking about what would I do to help change it.
    It all seems very daunting…..

  2. Nancy Magnall says:

    Scenario thinking seems to be a useful way of considering various possiblities a congregation might be facing both in the short and long term . Rather than denying that certain scenarios might play out in the future, it encourages congregational leaders to contemplate and strategically plan for various challenges they might encounter. Congregations who consider and plan for various possibilities will be better prepared to proactively deal with whatever comes their way. I agree that it could be a useful tool for use at committee or council meetings.

  3. I certainly understand how looking at the “big picture” of church decline is daunting and challenging. I also see this time as an incredible opportunity to re-learn how to articulate what is so amazing about the Gospel rather than just relying on the cultural expectation of people to attend church. (Which isn’t really happening anymore.) The circumstances force us to talk about and show what Christianity is really about. That’s not a bad thing at all!

  4. Linda says:

    I have not read the first chapter yet, but in reading other responses, I am getting the drift. I find myself downhearted on low attendance Sundays and on the other side of the coin I find myself elated when I see a small group of children and youth throw themselves into a service project and really get the point of serving. Better yet, when the small groups are intergenerational! These projects take place outside our walls and generate incredible faith energy. Exploring scenarios that help us see and appreciate new vantage points has great potential. I want to find out more about this.

  5. Elizabeth Dilley says:

    I found myself challenged by each of the four scenarios Roberto laid out. All are possible futures – but more importantly, there are people in our communities (and even on our church rolls) who fit into each of those four “categories.” How, indeed, are we choosing to minister to those folk? Can we realistically expect that any one congregation will be able to minister to people in each of those four quadrants, or is there value in choosing to say, “We are going to reach the Spiritual But Not Religious,” or “We are going to focus in increasing the commitment of those who Participate But Are Uncommitted”? Particularly for smaller congregations, it may not be realistic to be all things to all people. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

  6. Reading through all the scenarios and the possible programs is quite overwhelming. We’ll talk more about this more as our groups go along, but we should definitely start with people in particular areas and create programs that are realistic for each church. The reality is that you may start by targeting people in one particular quadrant; eventually, they will mature spiritually and have different spiritual needs. The programs will need to meet those evolving needs in some way.

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