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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Innovative Mission

 In the book Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, the term “connector” is used to describe individuals who have many ties to different stratas of social interaction in their lives that broadens their horizons for idea generation. Leading thinkers in progressive companies today recognize that diversity is a source of the “new” that already exists latently in people and can be “mined” so to speak as “connector” leaders proactively search out the “diverse” primarily external to their own industries, knowledge base, cultures and generation. Connectors become curators of diversity and have the ability to link people, ideas, and resources that wouldn’t ordinarily bump into one another. Connecting the “outside” to people inside companies is critical to new idea generation. Diversity in a workforce is seen to be one of its competitive advantages. These are the firms that are destined for growth through this creative enterprise.

This concept shines a light on our scriptural principle in the church of affirming diversity and enabling unity amongst the whole. Our primary focus is really on the value and blessing of diversity in our midst and beyond. “Unity” is more about the integration of our differences in peaceful harmony.

As I pondered the Words of Counsel, the following phrase connected with me.

“Additional innovative approaches to coordinating congregational life and supporting groups of disciples and seekers are needed to address mission opportunities in a changing world.”

The likelihood for new idea generation is much greater when we connect with people of diverse experience and backgrounds. The norm in industry and congregations is for leaders and people to choose to collaborate with others they know well or who have similar backgrounds or ways of thinking. This homogenization of thinking and operations is deadly for innovation and relevance in a dynamic and changing society.

Collaborative leadership is key to managing the diversity in our midst as conflict can be inherent in new ways of thinking. “Unity in diversity” is one of our enduring principles. Embracing diversity has become front and centre within Community of Christ on my levels of interaction from inclusivity to theology to formation to hymnody to mission to congregational styles of worship. A pastoral blending of spiritual sensitivity and collaborative leadership is required to guide diverse thought groups into a unified body. Dialogue and teamwork are the hallmarks of cooperative innovation in our missional pursuits.

Although we accept, promote and struggle with diversity in the broader sense of societal issues, the reality is that most of our congregations are very homogeneous. We need the invitation for diversity to be heralded beyond the doors of our churches. Even within our own membership, the invitation for diversity to our missing generations and those on the periphery seeking spiritual relevance in their lives but not finding it in our current congregational cultures, need to be found for our own sakes. We desperately need diversity in our midst to answer the call to innovative mission. Our journey now takes us from accepting diversity to embracing it, welcoming it, searching for it and recognizing the blessing it can be in our midst. As progressive companies are pursuing the latency of newness in the broad spectrum of society’s people offerings, so the church is called to recognize, affirm, invite and engage “the worth of persons.” The tendency over the years since this scriptural counsel to value all persons was received, has been to think of the church as bringing wholeness to the less accepted in society. Today the call is to see them as blessing us and that we find our welfare in their equal assimilation into our community, bringing their diverse gifts to enhance the whole church. I can’t help but be awed by the relevance of scripture from age to age as we dwell with the Spirit in its meaning for today. May God bless us on our journey into his envisioned Mission.

Submitted by Kerry

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