Executive Summary by Cheri Wellman (1/26/16) of “ORGANIX: Signs of Leadership in a Changing Church,” Abingdon Press.
ORGANIX differentiates between two prevalent leadership styles, modern and millennial. The differences that exist between these two styles is significant because it impacts the way in which leaders approach various aspects of leading. This book describes eight attributes of an organic church and how the two leadership styles impact the Church’s ability to engage in the mission Dei.
In reading and understanding my own leadership style I am better equipped to further engage in the millennial leadership in which I am a part. Additionally, by understanding the modern leaders I am able to understand the responses, road blocks and gaps in methodologies that have created challenges over the past several years.
Each of the eight chapters addresses its own aspect of an organic church.
CHAPTER 1: The first chapter focuses on the how each leadership style considers others. Others are viewed by the modern leader as resources to be managed, led primarily by the leader’s vision and in regards to how the volume of others measure leadership success. In contrast the millennial leader is driven by the needs of others, sees others as souls to be nurtured and leads focused on integrity. Millennial leaders have a need to be among the people and seek out their needs as a driving position for ministry direction.
CHAPTER 2: The next chapter contrasts the two leadership styles in respect to their perception of how God interacts or supports the leader. The millennial leader recognizes that God strengthens the leader for the work, that God’s presence is a result of the leader’s need of God, and that God is the one who examines the leader’s participation in God’s mission. The modern leader however looks to God to make the work easier due to leadership faithfulness, presumes that God’s presence is a result of His pleasure with the leadership, and that God celebrates the leader’s involvement in the mission Dei.
CHAPTER 3: The chapter of prescription was helped me see some areas where the district’s church health and fitness team are missing the mark. The model that is established is working in a modern leadership style and assuming a healthy church will produce healthy churches. This view has been a challenge for me and now I understand why. I have been very concerned for the health of the pastors and the leadership specifically, but the methodologies ignored their poor health and focused on methods to create a healthy church which included increasing volunteerism. Millennial leaders see the health of the people as the driver for a healthy church. It is their focus on the health of the individual that cares for them through use of small groups where people are cared for and nurtured.
CHAPTER 4: This chapter addresses risk and the type of church the leadership style develops. The modern leader avoids risk, is concerned about white male privilege, and grows museum churches. The millennial leader embraces risk, practices methods of reconciliation and grows mosaic churches. I resonated personally best with this chapter. “Anger is necessary or things won’t change” (p.69). This chapter also describes both the diversity and the partnership that is needed through sub congregations.
CHAPTER 5: The concept of recycling whether it be people, resources, or worship is addressed in chapter five. Rather than recycle, the modern leader moves out the old in to a new purpose rather than recycling it for its original intended purpose like the millennials do. One significant point in this chapter is how each leadership style approaches those who have failed. Millennial leaders address the failure and make a path toward reconciliation and restoration toward one’s original purpose, but modern leaders are likely to move the failure out and use them as an example and warning for others. The other point I found helpful was the thinking of the millennials and their ancient-future elements to honor those who have gone before them.
CHAPTER 6: Chapter six focuses on networks and networking. The modern leader relies on historical networks and controlling and restricting network access. The author points to how this modern thinking addresses outward behavior more than inward transformation. Millennials see networks as a tool and resource that should be freely available to everyone. They view personal networks important as they do the organizational networks. This chapter outlines the variety of benefits to online networks.
CHAPTER 7: Second to the chapter on Graffiti, this chapter on incarnation was my favorite. Modern leaders send others, teach at others, and create gatherings as an attractional event. Millennials however go in person, teach and are willing to be taught, and gather with the goal of a supernatural encounter. The John Perkin’s principles shared in this book are the foundation for how I view ministry both locally and globally. The section that addresses the supernatural encounter goal of the millennial leader where they spend a significant time seeking God’s leading through prayer, fasting, silence and meditation is something I have witnessed and appreciated in other younger leaders.
CHAPTER 8: The last chapter on measurement is encouraging, but likely still a long way from where the denominations are going to be measuring for a while. The challenges of measuring in the traditional modern methods of attendance and conversions is that these are tangible numbers theoretically. The methods of measure for millennials are more subjective as they look to measure maturity, unity, favor, and conversion. The short surveys provided in this chapter are useful tools in beginning to address and measure these areas.
My only question, does this book come in Spanish? I’d love to work through this book with my Colombian brothers and talk through the concepts with them.