Here & Now Outcomes: Fractals & Networks
Key Insights

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Tend To Our Congregation as a Network

Guiding Question: How might we shift our perspective and tend to our congregation as network?
During the Here & Now process almost every design team surfaced ideas that aimed to adapt and enhance various structures within our congregation.
Asking questions about relationships:
How do get people's contact information? →
How do I kindle or deepen relationships? →
How do I find my people, so we might do amazing work together? →
How do we make sure no one is left behind? →

Asking question about church structures, communication and decision making:
How do I know what’s going on? →
How do I start something new? →
How can groups cross pollinate and support each other? →
How can we together keep ourselves accountable and on mission? →

When taken together these questions invited us to consider some structural shifts in how we operate as a community. How the very structures of how we:
Find our people for deep relationship and mutual action
Know what is going on and participate in the collective dolaogue and discernment
Practice and live out our mission and vision as individuals and groups and what feedback cycles or training equip us to do so

At the most basic level congregations are made up of individual people who are connected to each other in various ways:
Household & Family ties
Mutual participation in church activities
Official roles and positions within the church
Formal and informal groups

These relationships seen together constitute a network. It is a complex network because the behaviour of the whole cannot be determined by looking at only part of the system and it is adaptive because the entire system reacts in real time to shifts in the internal and external environments.
Embracing the complex and adaptive nature of our network is a key to harness our collective capacity because our our system is too complex for control, nor should or would we want to control it.
In fact our goal is to enable it’s capacity to self-organize around fulfillment of its purpose, through creating structures and practices that keep it on track and sustainable. For true self-organization to be impactful and not become susceptible to mission drive it needs feedback systems instill coherency, accountability and missionality.
To enable self-organization there are a few prerequisites, the most pressing are:
We need visible and accessible social systems → How might we make our social system visible and accessible to be able to unleash capacity, tend to the whole, and practice equity and inclusivity?
To be in it together, we need new practices of collective discernment and and cooperating Guiding Question: How might we build practices and relationships of ongoing dialogue, collaboration and discernment across our congregational system?
We need to structure ourselves to embrace emergenceGuiding Question: How might we equip ourselves to be distributed and self-organizing, yet coherent, accountable and missional?

While these three goals and questions are interlocking, the first step is to tackle taking stock of the current system and making it visible and considering how it is or isn’t accessible to members of our community.

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