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Staff Health

Good Things Run Wild

When it comes to creating healthy structures, three interrelated elements need addressing: power, people, and process.

Run Wild

Structuring For Movement


G. K. Chesterton stated: “The more I consider Christianity, the more I found that while it has established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild.” Order giving rise to wildness? It seems contradictory, doesn’t it? We often associate structure with control and restraint, elements that stifle or inhibit freedom and liberation - going wild! Yet, just as in the natural and organic world, things that run wild have rules and order that engineer that wildness (for example, weeds have structure). The key is to construct our systems to catalyze growth and expansion, not stifle and frustrate them.  


When it comes to creating healthy structures, three interrelated elements need addressing: power, people, and process.



A Question of Leadership and Empowering

Here, we are concerned with the locus of power and how that power is distributed, delegated, or limited. Working through how authority, responsibility, and accountability are managed will play center stage. Will we be more centralized or decentralized in our structure? Will our focus be on standardization and control or giving room for differentiation and freedom? In their outstanding book, New Power, Heimans and Timms use two contrasting metaphors to show the difference between the old power paradigm and the new power one: currency (old power) and current (new power).

In this context, we mustn’t think in a binary way (i.e., either/or), but more along a spectrum between the two. However, the more we want our movement to run wild, the more decentralized it will need to be - requiring greater risk and trust in people.               



A Question of Size and Participation

How many people are you trying to reach and influence, few or many?  Is your target more homogenous in nature (a specific niche of people) or heterogeneous?  In what capacity do you want people to participate and shape the movement?  Is your goal to embrace a franchise model or more of a networked one - encouraging iteration, improvisation, and innovation? Heimans and Timm developed a Participation Scale, where at one end, you have people simply complying and consuming, and at the other end, shaping and producing - via a pathway of sharing, affiliating, adapting, and funding.  The rule of thumb is this - the more creativity and innovation you want to experience in your movement, the more inclusivity, and diversity you will need to cultivate and embrace.  Imitation without any room for innovation results in insulation, isolating your movement from creative growth.  The more you want people to buy in, the more they will need to weigh in.  Yes, this is a more challenging endeavor, but it will generate a ‘wildness’ that will bring significant change to our world!  It’s worth the effort!              



A Question of Sustainability and Scalability

Once you have wrestled through the question of power and people, you are now ready to tackle the process question.  How will we pull this off?  It’s been stated that the future will be a “battle over mobilization.”  Most churches (about 80%) will fail to fully execute and implement their visionary and strategic plans (even those who create such programs, never mind those who don’t).  There are several reasons for this, but a lack of clarity and simplicity is at the top of the list - elements essential to sustainability and scalability.  I have found in developing movement processes, three characteristics need embracing and embodying - especially if you want to deliver your ideas and messages in a way that carries them forward exponentially:1

  • Receivability: the message is received personally and emotionally - does it stick? Is it clear, concise, credible, captivating, and compelling?
  • Repeatability: the message repeats easily - that is, can it be shared and applied quickly and without difficulty?  Is the call to action concrete, practical, and feasible?  
  • Reproducibility: the message reproduces strategically - does it spread widely?  Are the core message and practices (i.e., the “radical minimums”) capable of remaining both intact, and at the same time, able to adapt and innovate in different contexts? Are the relational pathways and onramps for people to connect and contribute to the movement accessible, inviting, and tractionable?  

As part of these three Rs, the forms in which the information is shared, passed on, and embodied should not be cumbersome, weighty, and complex.  Leveraging the use of specific language/words, stories, visual aids, tools, meme-like phrases, digital platforms (what can be automated?), and hands-on training venues (both online and in-person) - just to name a few, needs to take place. 


At Chemistry Staffing, we are committed to seeing kingdom movements flourish!  Whether helping you find the right staff or shaping your ministry structures, we are here to help.  But, be forewarned, things just might get a little wild! 


Bonus Resource:

Check this Matrix out. I created it based on the book, TheAL-ChemStaff-Social-2 Starfish and the Spirit, which identifies four quadrants churches are located depending on where the locus of power and participation are. Where are you currently located, and is a shift required to accomplish your vision and mission? Click here to download the matrix.


To connect with Allan about finding a long-term healthy fit or to talk about church health, reach out to him via email here 


1Adapted from Neil Cole, Organic Church. See also his Church 3.0 as a great resource.


Dr. Allan Love

Dr. Allan Love

Allan has been involved in church ministry for the past 25 years in a variety of roles and settings: church planter, Pastor of Disciple Making and Adult Ministries, Executive Pastor and Coach/Consultant. Allan has experienced many transitions in ministry from a variety of different perspectives. He understands that as painful and stressful transitions can be, they have the potential to transform you more than most things can! Allan, along with his wife of 33 years, Gloria, young adult daughter, and Luna (family Lhasa Apso), lives in Jacksonville, Florida. His son serves as a pastor in Virginia Beach with his wife and daughter. Allan and his family are originally from Canada, where he earned his Master’s in Biblical Studies (Regent College) and Doctorate in Missional Leadership (Carey). Additionally, he is certified as an MBTI, CPI 260 and StratOp Practitioner, and as a Church Unique and God Dreams Navigator. He is an avid runner who loves to hang out with family and friends and is committed to serving pastors and local churches to help them to live out their unique calling.

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