Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Church and the Big 3

My friend Scott Parrish, who serves as a Campus Minister has put out this post questioning whether the church is like the Big 3.

I am especially appreciative of the questions he poses.
Some questions in comparison:
  • Can these institutions undo their growth, management style, and culture of the last decade/s quickly enough to gain their footing in these times?

  • Will they move past talk to quick, strategic action? Or do we wait a Year or, worse yet, FOUR YEARS! (This could be a discussion for another time)

  • Salaries & expectations of the institution by the administration & workers seem to be a major issue with the Big 3. This seems comparable to the UMC. How can we "undo" this and refocus on the consumer or potential consumer? Or will it be an impasse that causes our demise?

  • Are there basic steps common in such institutional retooling- other than establishing more committees?

  • Or is this merely a part of an institutional life cycle to be expected? Perhaps the option is that we merely serve as the clergy officiating the last years of a dying institution and this is our role.-Change IS going to happen. Will the UMC have the (what word should we use?!) resolve to do what is necessary to retool. If a for profit group can't do this and is hampered by a self inflicted hamstring injury (NOTE: from obesity not activity!) what are the odds a religious institution will survive?

In reality, these are the questions we are starting to deal with in our Visioning process at Ojai UMC. Once we finish Visioning we are going to move into the Mission of the church to achieve our Vision. And any questions we didn't answer the first go round on Visioning will have to be answered then. 

The question I continue to get from the church is whether we have waited too long to start the process. The answer I come to is that we have not come too late to the party of change. But, I will add that the changes we need to make will need to be bigger and more drastic to catch up, and we will need to continue to review our Vision and Mission, updating according to the gifts and talents we have and the needs of the community.



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