Saturday, April 24, 2010

PCA Strategic Plan: Post 2

A. Charting Change

In order to bring about healthy change a church must develop a “holy discontent” with some aspects of its present situation. If people assume that everything is right (ER in the chart below), then there is no incentive to change. Apathy and immobility characterize the church because any change is presumed to be the enemy of present comfort. But the antidote to apathy is not panic. Those who seek to bring about change by claiming that everything is wrong (EW in the chart below) create cynicism and paralysis. Change is meaningless when hope dies. When everything is wrong the perceived enemy is not change but rather the leadership (past or present) that allowed this hopeless situation to develop. Thus, motivations for healthy change cannot be found in either self-serving apathy or otherdirected cynicism, but rather in something between.

Healthy change occurs when problems are acknowledged – providing motivation for change – along with a realistic vision of what life can be when problems are addressed – providing hope for the future. People who have hope for a changed future are neither apathetic nor despairing; they believe, “We Have a Mission(WHAM in the chart below) and want to make progress in God’s purposes. A compelling sense of mission creates zeal for change, and makes any barrier to progress toward the envisioned future the real enemy. The “sweet spot” for healthy change occurs when God’s people understand and unite in missional purpose. Mission creates zeal for change, hope for tomorrow, and a desire to see plans that tell us how our lives can further God’s purposes.

Thus, the goal of this Strategic Plan is not to convince others that everything is right or that everything is wrong. In order to annul apathy, we intend to be realistic about the challenges we must face (both internally and externally). In order to dispel despair, we intend to identify the resources and blessings God has granted the PCA. Finally, we intend to propose plans for using these resources and blessings in ways that we pray will unite and ignite God’s people for his purposes. All of this we do because we believe we have a mission, and we believe the vast majority of those in the PCA believe the same.

Charting Change

Situation Attitudes Responses Perceived Enemy

EW CynicismParalysis Past/Present leadership enemy

WHAM Zeal/Change Barriers to Progress

ER Apathy/ Immobility Change is Enemy

Summary: In understanding the situation of the PCA, there are three possible attitudes: 1) everything is wrong with the denomination; 2) nothing is wrong with the denomination; 3) some things are wrong with the denomination, but they can be fixed with the right attitude, and the right use of resources.

Comment: Wow! What a simplistic, even simple-minded, analysis. First, I don’t think anyone in the PCA is in either the ER or the EW groups. That means we’re all somewhere in the middle. We agree that there are problems. The things about which we disagree involve the best approach to solving those problems. Another way of putting it (referring to the chart above) is that from one perspective, one of the barriers to real progress is past and/or present leadership. Another barrier to progress is the wrong kind of change. In the USA, for example, a lot of people are convinced that President Obama’s change is a barrier to real progress. So the real situation is much more complex that this analysis allows for.

But note also the acronyms. Ew, that really stinks! Er, I don’t see what the problem is. Wham! We have a mission! Now let’s get everybody excited about our mission! This sounds like something that came out of a retreat weekend by the folks in “The Office.”

1 comment:

M. Jay Bennett said...

This sounds like something that came out of a retreat weekend by the folks in “The Office.”