Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rebuilding the Walls

Short deadlines.

Not enough staff.

Tight budgets.

Personal attacks.

External opposition.

Internal conflicts.

A huge task.

Sound like your church?

Hopefully not, but that was the situation that Nehemiah faced as he stood at the broken down walls of Jerusalem and wept. Fortunately, Nehemiah had a unique ability to solve the complex problems that faced him. His methods illustrate two powerful elements of systems thinking that every leader in ChurchWorld should possess. As you begin to understand these elements, they will help you solve the problems you face as a leader.

Nehemiah's ability to solve complex problems grew out of his manner of seeing the problems - as a systems thinker. Peter Senge, one of the early proponents of systems thinking, said "Systems thinking is a discipline for seeing wholes. It is a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than things, for seeing patterns of change rather than static 'snapshots' ".

Two elements of systems thinking made a difference for Nehemiah. He saw what Senge labeled "the subtle interconnectedness that gives living systems their unique character," and he saw "the " 'structures' that underlie complex situations".

The result? He was so successful in his work that, when people saw it, "they realized that this work had been done with the help of God" (Neh. 6:16). Each step of the way, Nehemiah had sought the Lord for direction. God answered those prayers by providing favor, strength, and wisdom.

How will you use systems thinking to "rebuild the walls" today?

1 comment:

g-force said...

God is definitely up to something. We have a guest speaker scheduled at Bronx Bethany for Friday night & Saturday, and in her book Jonah and Nehemiah are 2 of the 7 biblical figures referenced.

The obedience (or disobedience) of one person, affecting countless others... what an amazing reality.