Church Innovations’ Partners Post

June 26, 2009

Once in awhile you’ve gotta check in

In the past two months I’ve read 257 interviews, sat on 17 reading teams, and written 15 reports. All of those interviews were completed in order to get snapshots of the cultures of organizations or congregations.  All of the interviewees  (I am assuming) were good Christian people who were willing to speak and be heard.  All of the interviewers (I am assuming) were good Christian people who were willing to really labor, really listen, in order to free others to speak. 

And in each of the 15 reports I wrote and then digested along with their recipients, there were surprises. Amazements.  “I thought we’d hear about that, for sure!”  “We thought people would say X, but they said Y and Z instead!” “Why isn’t anyone describing the fish dinners or the strawberry festival?”

Sometimes I wonder, like my late friend, Rita, about what fences in our neighborhood have cost us, making it tough to follow the children as they lope from yard to yard, running into and chatting with their parents as you meander through.  I wonder what long commutes in cars or even buses have cost us.  I wonder what shyness and discomfort in the presence of others has cost us. 

It’s very expensive, not knowing what your neighbors think. Not knowing what your fellow congregation members wish for. Not knowing what your colleagues at work would love to see happen there.  If Church Innovations’ very most valuable gift to the people and places we work with has been Dwelling in the Word, perhaps the second most valuable gift is that, in order to do Discovery, people have to really listen to one another.  No wonder they’re surprised at what they hear. They just don’t have that many occasions to do it.

1 Comment »

  1. Hey Pat,
    What an interesting and truthful commentary. We are becoming so isolated and atomized in our culture (church and otherwise) that it is hard to know what everyone is thinking. You’ve identified a great contribution of CI for all of us to heed.

    Comment by phill@tyfi.org — July 7, 2009 @ 8:23 am

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