Does Complexity Facilitate Vision?

Andy Stanley had an interesting quote at the Catalyst Conference (h/t Mark Beeson),

The more complex your church government, the more that complexity will war against your vision.

That’s a pretty simple statement, and we could qualify and debate it all day long.  However, I just want to pose a question.  Does the complexity of the United Methodist Church facilitate its vision or compete with it?  What about in local churches?  What do you think?


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3 thoughts on “Does Complexity Facilitate Vision?

  1. The complexity of the UMC’s structure is definitely warring against vision. There are groups that meet by Disciplinary mandate, which must then decide why they exist.

  2. I’ll be the contrarian to Craig and I hate to say this, but I think a lot of it depends on pastoral leadership. Look at Bryan Collier at The Orchard or Bob Long at St. Lukes in OKC. These guys utilize the required disciplinary committees, but they all know that they are working for the vision. I think COR does this, too. If you can get a church behind a solid vision I believe that those committees can be helpful, even.

    The more difficult problem is some of the hoops we have to jump through to, say, build a new facility or establish an endowment. I understand why we do them. The District Committee on Church Building in Location has saved some churches from financial ruin, but some of these steps are where I find the Discipline slowing us down the most.

  3. The complexity of our system often hampers many operational aspects of our church, mostly because bureaucracy doesn’t encourage creativity, flexibility, agility or swiftness of response. Someone with a vision for change or progress may find their moves stifled by the committee process, Disciplinary requirements or church structure.

    On the other hand, sometimes vision can do with a little restraint. Not every vision is the best for the place and time it occurs, and some visions need not only restraint, but a quick and painless demise.

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