Monday, November 23, 2009

ways into small missional community [10] a transparent, light and freeing framework

here's the next in my series on creating communities of the great community-maker...

If you’ve followed this series you’ll know that I encourage people to look out for a few others who share similar hopes to be committed to the project with you [see ways into smc [1] starting out in company]. I also encourage smc’s to find a bigger place of belonging of some sort - for encouragement, shared learning and some accountability - be it diocese or parish, network or circuit, or a wider community of mission like CMS.

When you set out on a new venture like this, one of the delights is the freedom to imagine and shape the thing as you go. The three or four of you, over a coffee, in the pub or over a meal. This is good! Enjoy the freedom and the creativity of this early phase. You will then reach a point, sooner than you might imagine, where it’s really important to work out a framework for how decisions will be made in the longer term.

I’m not advocating any particular type of organisation. That will depend on the sort of people you are, the nature of the project-community and your setting. But here are a few key principles that I find helpful:

- trust people: involve everyone in the framework-finding process
- seek transparency: make sure that any framework will show everyone very clearly how decisions are made and who makes them
- keep the framework light and freeing: aim for simplicity and remember it only exists to help the community to live out it’s calling
- put the framework in place with some provisionality: agree to try it out, and revisit it after a period and ask how it is working
- treasure listening: make sure that everyone has a voice in decision-making
- aim for consensus in the big issues: allow for any really big decision to be made by consensus
- find wise guidance: give to some wise, prayerful and humble person in the community a role to include calling a provisional way forward should there ever be a real impasse - in my experience this is very rarely needed if deep attention is paid to the big idea [see ways into smc [2] ]and to the spirit of the community [see ways into smc [4] ]
- don’t create jobs for life: find a framework that allows people to move in and out of roles
- seek the Christ: remember where the community belongs...

peace to you


thisfragiletent said...

Hey Ian

Really helpful stuff!

Our small community is going through a process of examination and questioning. We are about 4 years old, and it became necessary to dig into some of these things in a deeper way, Painful- but hopefully productive.

Blessings, and thanks again for the words of wisdom...


Ian Adams said...

hi Chris - pleased you found this helpful - please keep in touch
peace to you