Tuesday, March 27, 2012

GC 2012-- Arkansas Delegation

Yes Arkansas Delegation! May it be so.

The Mission Has a Church

Hirsch has some great insight into the impact of missional thinking for church and denomination. What does this mean for denomaintions doing reogranization/restructing? Where is our theology impacting, and in fact guiding, our reorganizaiton? What

Here are a few quotes for your consideration:

Regarding a missions/missionary approach-- "What is going to sound like Good News for this people group?" "What is church for this people group?" At this point, I'm curious what the varied contexts mean for the UMC. How much room do we give for these missional questions, especially for church starting, and how do we oversee that in an international denomination. KISS comes to mind regarding the Book of Discipline and the mandates at the highest levels allowing for context specific expressions of United Methodist Christianity.

My ongoing curiousity-- What is our shared theology of Chruch that is informing the UMC reorganization? Missional language and thinking is helfpul to me in the process of the renewal of a local congregation and an international denomination.

Hirsch quotes from the video:

Church "evicted missiology out of the equation."

"God is a missionary God."

"Mission isn't a subset of ecclesiology, but a subset of theology."

"It is part of the doctrine of God, not the doctrine of Church."

The key it to let "missiology determine ecclesiology."

"The mission has a church!"

"It is a fundamental paradigm shift."

Necessity of "unlearning" how to do church.

The "biggest hindrance is unlinking our imaginagations from the Constantinian mold of church."

"To borrow from Einstein: the problems of the church can not be resolved by the same type of thinking that created them in the first place."

The conversation returned to the immediate context of sharing the Gospel or starting a church. Numerous biblical stories come to my mind from the New Testament when I think about this.

As I continue to think and pray toward General Conference 2012 I hope that these sorts of primary theolgoical and biblical conversations will also be part of our reorganizaiton and renewal!

Check out the full video for yourself at Hirsch video interview .

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Key Characteristics of the Chrysler Reorganization

I just caught some of a 60 Minutes story on Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat-Chrysler, and was intrigued with his approach and early success with their reorganization. I'm a little envious of the business world, so different than the church in terms of the bottom line & how quickly they can move in leadership, yet there may be some elements similar in any reorganization.

I found a good article about the Marchionne Strategy.I'm lifting out a number of quotes as it's also a nice look at some major issues in a strategy for reorganization. Much of the material is based on Wall Street Journal's Jennifer Clark intriguing book "Mondo Agnelli: Fiat, Chrysler, and the Power of a Dynasty." With many denominations and churches considering how to be efficient in this generation and with the new world economy it is interesting to consider how other large institutions have reorganized.

"With his lightning-quick mind, boundless energy, and utter self-confidence, he took over the company, selected a management team, created a product plan, and established a set of performance targets." Now I'm thinking about a church and denomination. Wouldn't it be nice sometimes to have that sort of authority and ability as a CEO?! So, it doesn't all transfer, but some of these characteristics sound good for a clergy profile. Do we know what we are looking for in a management team? What is our "product plan?" What are the performance targets? I think that some of the UMC discussions at General Conference and in Annual Conferences are addressing some of these matters.

"He selected his own management team after months of walking around at the company, looking for energetic risk-takers and evaluating them on the spot. After picking his team, he sent 2,000 of his rejects off to early retirement." Are energetic risk takers valued in a congregation or denomination? What do we do with such folk? Do we know our clergy in a denomination well enough to be able to evaluate them?

"...Marchionne's next step was to put all of his executives together in one room to come up with a business plan. Having wiped out several layers of management, he now eliminated time-killing committees..." Got bureaucracy in your church or denomination?! Got any time killing committees? What would happen if we eliminated those meetings?

He also consolidated leadership, rather than running separate business units, as "The idea was to make Fiat quicker and more efficient by getting all parts of the company to talk to one another." Note speed/responsiveness, efficiency, and communication as a key organizational value.

"Just as deadly was Fiat's practice of putting car development entirely in the hands of engineers. When the engineers were done, they would throw the car "over the wall" to sales and marketing teams with instructions on how many to sell and at what price, Clark notes. It was a process that was guaranteed to be inefficient and to create disputes between different parts of the company." Is the work in the right hands?! What practices are inefficient, or by design create misunderstanding/controversy/friction?

"After one manager patted himself on the back for turning a big loss into a smaller one, Marchionne went after him. 'I don't need people in here who are happy to lose money,' Clark quotes him as saying. 'I want people who culturally are all about making money. You are free to go.'" Hmmm, what should the church be "all about?"

Of Marchionne it is said, "Perhaps his most defining characteristic is his unwillingness to sugarcoat reality." Who does this in a church or denomination? How do we best do supervision and accountability that tells the truth?

Now compare the various UMC reorganization plans. The IOT/CT plan, if adopted, would need to be wisely implemented and the very best personnel would need to be in those few crucial positions. It is a bold move, but then isn't that what we need?