Church Leadership: Who Leads Disruptive Innovation?

Christensen concludes his book discussing the need and ways to improve educational research, describing the organizational structures, and the need to think deeply about how those structures operate and exist in the educational system and their resulting impact. Approaching Christensen’s writings from a theological, church-based context I struggled to develop a reflection around how Christensen’s ideas on leadership and research can be implemented in the church and how it might relate to the work of a church leader (e.g. pastor, youth leader, council)

I am intrigued with Christensen’s “tools of governance,” (i.e. dimensions of agreement and the tools appropriate for different dimensions) (l. 3810-3811 and 3844). Specifically, how they can be applied and used within a church, or even denominations. Similar to the history of General Electric (l. 3852-3864), I believe many churches are at a crossroads of identity confusion and lack a disruptive and innovative way forward. I would argue few pastors are well gifted and trained to lead churches as organizations as most pastor training is focused on spiritual and biblical methods and lack extensive and needed teaching on leadership. This is important because of the role pastors serve as leaders in their church and the interactions they have with the leadership of the church.

I am curious how churches can better understand themselves and research their needs. How can a church utilize their research to be matched with a great leader who can use appropriate leadership, culture, management, or power tools to move the congregation to the next level. How can these tools provide a better environment for disruptive innovation to flourish. I am not convinced the leader must be the pastor, but someone in the congregation with the proper gifts might be much better suited for the position of pushing the congregation forward to better reach the people they are called to reach in the most innovative and successful way. This could be impressed upon the greater church denominational leadership as well (e.g. superintendent, president, bishop).

Much like education there are many stakeholders in the church with immense commitment and passion (l. 3882-3884). I think churches are up against similar battles as schools. Though many churches operate differently, most have a leadership board or council that paves the way forward, additionally, some churches are pastor lead. Adapting Christensen’s ideas requires the congregation to be on board and look to a leader who the’ve given the authority to make changes, possibly drastic ones. Christensen ends saying, “Although better learning is the goal, states and districts cannot “enact” better learning. All they can do is to create the conditions that motivate teachers and students to do whatever it takes to get better results (l. 3928-39290). Churches are in the same boat, they have been given the task to pass on faith and they need to create an environment that, without losing their theological convictions, continues to present their story and way of life to the congregation. This means partnering with pastors, church leaders, and schools that train for ministry.]

I believe that Christensen’s argument for student-centric technology-based learning can have a huge impact in churches, but I am not convinced if this is the disruptive innovation needed to change the church.

I continue to prefer reading from the Kindle app. This week I did my reading standing up on the Kindle app on my Mac. I’ve been reading more about the impact sitting all day has on our bodies, so I made a makeshift standing desk. It was helpful to read from the Kindle app because I was able to make the text bigger, as I was standing farther away, additionally the I didn’t need to hold a page in place or anything. This enabled me to pace a little and move around. I included a picture of my setup this week.

  1 comment for “Church Leadership: Who Leads Disruptive Innovation?

  1. August 19, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Your comment about many pastors being strong in spiritual and biblical methods, but weak in leadership reminded me of a complaint a friend of mine recently made. She’s a vice principal at a high school and has an issue with many of her staff members–they’re incredibly gifted in their subject area, but are very week in the teaching area. They’re passionate about WHAT they’re teaching, but don’t have enough training or skill in HOW to teach it. It seems it’s very easy to forget that being knowledgeable about something really doesn’t mean that one is skilled at sharing that knowledge with others.
    Also–neat standing desk!

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