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Grand Rapids, MI

Embarking Blog

...on the journey towards restoration of all things

Leadership in the Box


I met a guy today named Ron Martoia.  He’s a change architect/ consultant by trade and is a wonderfully innovative thinker in the church.  We need more guys like this in the church who help leaders to really think out of the box.  Here’s a great concept he shared: Often as leaders we want to change our results, so we change our actions.  And if we want to change our actions, we’ll circle back and change our strategies.  His argument is that most leadership information on change theory for the last 50 years has been based on changing actions or strategies.  But his question was, “What precedes strategies?”  Well, he didn’t really answer it, but preceding strategies are really beliefs, paradigms, assumptions, presuppositions, cultural values, traditions, etc.  Ron’s challenge was that to really have leadership outside the box, we need to rethink our mental models and the hidden paradigms that precede our strategies.

That’s not even all that new.  Actually doing it is what’s new.  I love the idea personally, but I also know that it can be dangerous.  From a church perspective, think of the McLaren’s or Alan Hirsch’s or Rob Bells or many others who are not only rethinking how we do church (strategies and actions) but are asking whether our fundamental mental models and presuppositions are the ones that drive the scriptures or that drove Jesus.  That doesn’t mean that we are throwing the gospel out (which guys like this are often accused of), but it does mean that we rethink the ground on which we stand.  The question is, when is it OK to rethink that foundations on which we stand?  How do we do that in a way that is still faithful to the Lord and doesn’t put us or others in jeopardy in their faith?  Is it too dangerous?

I’ve not been personally to concerned about rethinking foundations, but that may be because my own conversion came through rethinking foundations.  In fact, in a real philosophical way, I did have to go through a period of deconstruction of my faith and cultural foundations before I was able to really come in contact with Jesus Christ.  I have a strong belief that the truth will set you free, that the Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth, and that God reveals himself to those who seek him.  So it doesn’t bother me if people are truly seeking after the truth even if it challenges the foundations.  Here’s the reality:  the foundations have to be strong enough to withstand query and challenge or they cannot really be foundational.  Maybe our fear of rethinking has more to do with our fear the we have added things that are not foundational and we don’t want to lose those things.

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