Natural Church Development: Effective Structures

In his book, ‘The 8th Habit,’ Stephen Covey reported

“People today are expected to produce more for less in a terribly complex world, yet they are simply not allowed to use a significant portion of their talents and intelligence. In no way is this pain more clearly or practically manifest in organisations than in their inability to focus on and execute their highest priorities.

A poll of 23,000 workers in key areas of industry, by Harris International, found:

Only 37 percent said they have a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why.

Only 1 in 5 was enthusiastic about their team’s and organization’s goals.

Only 1 in 5 workers said they have a clear “line of sight” between their tasks and their team’s and organization’s goals.

Only half were satisfied with the work they have accomplished at the end of the week.

Only 1 5 percent felt that their organization fully enables them to execute key goals.

Only 1 5 percent felt they worked in a high-trust environment.

Only 17 percent felt their organization fosters open communication that is respectful of differing opinions and that results in new and better ideas.

Only 10 percent felt that their organization holds people accountable for results.

Only 20 percent fully trusted the organization they work for.

Only 1 3 percent have high-trust, highly cooperative working relationships with other groups or departments.

If, say, a soccer team had these same scores, only four of the eleven players on the field would know which goal is theirs.

Only two of the eleven would care.

Only two of the eleven would know what position they play and know exactly what they are supposed to do.

And all but two players would, in some way, be competing against their own team members rather than the opponent.

The data is sobering. It matches my own experience with people in organizations of every kind all around the world. Despite all our gains in technology, product innovation and world markets, most people are not thriving in the organizations they work for. They are neither fulfilled nor excited. They are frustrated. They are not clear about where the organization is headed or what its highest priorities are. They are bogged down and distracted. Most of all, they don’t feel they can change much. Can you imagine the personal and organizational cost of failing to fully engage the passion, talent and intelligence of the workforce?

It is far greater than all taxes, interest charges and labour costs put together!” (End quote)

There is something special about the church; yet it is still an organisation administered by fallible human beings. It is likely similar research would produce a very similar result. Might this be one of the contributing factors as to why, in spite of every effort we are making, and even with the blessing of God, most churches are not making much headway in the western world today?

Natural Church Development can help us find out a great deal about our own church; and can also help to improve matters – if we care to address what we discover. At least we would all know what our goals were!

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