Here & Now Outcomes: Fractals & Networks

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What's Next?

Our next step is to transform our insights into actions. Moving from conceptual to experimental.
The design process led us to key insights and helped us practice a more disciplined process of design and team work. With those skills and experiences we are ready to try out some interventions in our systems and see what we learn from the response.
Test Driving the Fractal Practices
Experiential Learning Communities
Shifting the role of community circles

1. Test Driving the Fractal Practices

We are going to begin introducing the fractal practices amongst various sub-communities/groups with the church. Using them as a framework for decision making, problem solving, and discernment about what steps to take and how to approach problems. This will begin with staff right away, and our hope is the board will be next. Then we hope to convene leaders of key teams and committees for mutual exploration and commitment to integration and practice.
Two areas we expect to be directly impacted is our Idea procedure as well as our leadership development work.

2. Insight Driven Experimental Learning Communities

In January, we will be launching at least 3 teams, to take the next steps in experimentation. Each team will be guided by the questions at the heart of the three foundational insights. We hope to create a structure where these teams are intentionally connected in mutual dialogue and support as they work on their respective questions.
For the first two insights we have identified fairly direct guiding questions:
Stories Are Foundational & TransformativeGuiding question: How might we embed ‘seeking the stories’ into the fabric of our congregation?
We Must Relationally Companioning People In Church Life & Leadership → Guiding Question: How might ‘relationally companionship’ become a key practice of our community?
For the third, Tend To Our Congregation as a Network, we recognize that to be able to get at the practices of collective discernment and cooperation, and the embracing of emergence of new possibilities, we must first focus on how to make our social system visible and accessible.
As there is no how-to guide to doing so we will being by exploring accessible resources related to:
Social System Mapping
Social Network Analysis
Complex Adaptive Systems
Network Theory
Collective Learning Systems
Emergence and Emergent strategy

3. Shifting role of community circles

As we move into 2021, community circles will no longer be the central organizing structure for connecting and caring at Foothills. They have been deeply important over the past 9 months, and we are immensely grateful to all of you for everything you have done to sustain them.
Second, if circle would like to remain together in some form as we move forward, Foothills will continue to support it! What we have heard from some of you is that you have created meaningful circle connections that you don't want to give up. What we would ask of you if this is the case is that you work together to clearly articulate what it is that you are going to be moving forward, how that connects to our Foothills mission, and what resources you anticipate needing (e.g., a zoom room).
Third, if circles is ready to be done, you don't need to worry that closing out your circle will leave people in the lurch if they need either practical/emotional help or social connections. We continue to be struck by the deep level of concern that our people have for our people, and we want to assure you that, as we move into what we anticipate will be especially difficult months, Foothills is up to the challenge. With the recent addition of Elaine Tenbrink to our ministerial staff, we are in an excellent position to keep a very close eye on caring needs. The current plan is to shift to a model that remains geographically based, but does not rely on circles. Many of the circle parish visitors will remain active within somewhat larger geographic areas, and we will be inviting new people into this caring work as well (this might be something that appeals to some of you!).

TL/DR: The structural role of the community circles will shift:
A modified circle structure will still be used within our Caring Ministry to distribute and deliver care and connection. These modified circles will also be used for periodic church wide gatherings or opportunities.
Circles with thriving gatherings, groups and practices are empowered to continue and become small groups or affinity groups.
Tools & practices to allow for lateral connection between people within our community, will enable some of the roles the circles to be met in new ways.

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