LEARNING ORGANIZATIONS & It’s not the size of a megachurch that matters, but how quickly it learns.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Formerly it was how big you are. But for today’s organizations it is how fast you “learn.” See this Harvard Business Review article that reminds us it’s not the scalability of mega-churches, but rather the ability of organizations to learn and innovate as conditions change that make healthy organizations.

The New Organization Model: Learning at Scale

by John Hagel III, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison, MARCH 11, 2009.

In recent posts we’ve described a massive institutional transformation that will occur as part of the big shift: the move from institutions designed for scalable efficiency to institutions designed for scalable learning. The core questions we all need to address are: who will drive this transformation? Who will be the agents of change? Will it be institutional leaders from above or individuals from below and from the outside of our current institutions?

Used to be institutional leaders were the only ones who could change institutions. Why? Because, in an era of scalable efficiency, both work and consumption had to be standardized. It was impossible to get the necessary scale effects otherwise. Standardizing them required a top-down approach. Strong institutional leaders were necessary to mold individuals into two primary roles: customers that consumed products pushed to them on fixed schedules and employees who performed repetitive tasks from nine to five.

Now we have a new infrastructure, a digital infrastructure creating near-constant disruption. By freeing people to interact and collaborate with others outside of traditional hierarchical organizations, by reducing information asymmetries between producers of goods and services and those who buy them, by democratizing control over communications and media–in these and other ways our digital infrastructure is granting new autonomy and freedom to individuals, both as consumers and as employees. (For more about this see The Wealth of Networks by Yochai Benkler.) As a result, individuals wield new influence with and power over the institutions with which they interrelate.

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2009/03/can-your-company-scale-its-lea.html

MEGACHURCHES & Elmer Town’s View of Healthy Large Churches via @DanReiland #12StoneChurch

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “The thing that impressed me most about 12Stone© Church in Atlanta (a Wesleyan congregation) was that every Saturday night the pastors and leaders join together in the sanctuary to pray for the Sunday worship services.  Lead pastor Kevin Myers told me that this was something God impressed upon him.  Kevin said, and I’m paraphrasing from memory, ‘God said He would show up Sunday morning if I (Kevin) showed up Saturday night and prayed.’  The church has grown to a mega-congregation, but you can still feel what Elmer calls ‘the presence of God that impresses me. That warms my heart. That makes me trust the leaders.’  Another friend and 12Stone© leader, Dan Reiland, posted a great interview with Dr. Towns from which I gleaned this quote.  Here is the entire interview posted with permission from a great website (you should follow it): DanReiland.com.”

Wisdom from a Sage: Dr. Elmer Towns

by Dan Reiland, May 6, 2015, retrieved from http://danreiland.com/wisdom-from-a-sage-dr-elmer-towns

dan-reiland

What I consider a killer combination: Lunch last week at P.F. Changs with Dr. Elmer Towns!

Dr. Elmer Towns is the co-founder of Liberty University and the former Dean of the School of Theology and the Seminary for 32 years. Even at 82 years of age, Dr. Towns is fired up and going strong! He is one of the sharpest leaders I know. Dr. Towns has written 200 books and is working on 3 more right now. He travels the world speaking to thousands of church leaders. Dr. Towns is also writing curriculum for 12 new online courses that will be made available to thousands of Bible Schools internationally and in the US.

Let me slow down a bit. Elmer is a good friend. I love and appreciate him. He has more energy than most 40 year olds, and after all these years he just switched to a Mac! He also proudly showed me his new iPhone 6 Plus!

Elmer loves the local church and has invested in more leaders than most of us could ever imagine. Before his calling to the academic arena, Dr. Towns was a pastor starting at 19 years old in Savannah, GA, while in college.

I asked Dr. Towns what churches impressed him these days. He paused and said,

“Big churches don’t impress me.”

OK, I was hooked and asked him which ones do? He said,

“When I walk in the church and I immediately sense the presence of God that impresses me. That warms my heart. That makes me trust the leaders.”

Elmer said he can quickly sense the Holy Spirit or a “deadness” in the room. He called it the “atmospheric presence of God.”

Dr. Towns went on to say that the presence of God comes from worship, and the presence of God follows the man of God (The Pastor). The pastor is the intercessor that brings God to the people. (This was not meant to suggest that the people do not have direct access to God, but intended to reveal a Pastor’s heart as he or she prays for the people and delivers God’s Word.)

I asked what he would share with young next gen leaders stepping into ministry today. Dr. Towns said:

“Tell them not to focus on building a church but concentrate on feeding the people. If you lead and shepherd the people the church will grow.”

Last, I asked how to go the distance in ministry:

“First you must know why you’re doing what you are doing, then it must be a calling not a job. From there chase God, not success. Most people don’t know what to do with success. If you walk closely with God through Bible reading and prayer, when your church hits a rough patch, which they always do, you can weather the storm, and God will show you what to do next.”