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Lessons in Energy (NCD Growth Forces) May 1, 2008

Posted by dan snyder in Leadership Reflections.
Tags: , ,

Our congregation had been growing for nearly two years. Attendance had more than quadrupled in that time. People were happily serving, finding joy using their spiritual gifts. Momentum was on our side.

But a change needed to be made. We had outgrown our worship space. And with little resources for expansion, the best solution was to multiply into two worship communities. When the idea was presented to leaders, suddenly the energy changed. And for the next several months the momentum switched sides.

The tendency for a leader in these situations is to push harder. We find our default force tactic and apply it with steadily.

But a new solution may be discovered if we consider the difference between boxing and Jujitsu. The tactic in boxing is always the same: first to ward off the punch of the opponent, then to initiate an offense to knock him out. Both steps require all of the boxer’s force and energy.

Jujitsu Drawing

The 1500 year old art of Jujitsu is quite different than boxing. Jujitsu was developed by the non-violent monks in a monastery in Shanin. They designed a set of “soft” fighting techniques that do not resist the force of the enemy; rather they steer the opponent’s momentum. The effect is the opponent’s strength is directed on himself to achieve a winning goal.

Nature makes use of such energy transformation as well. A moving stream causes destructive erosion; but this motion also cleanses the creek bed. A winter frost kills delicate foliage; but it also destroys unwanted mold spores. A grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies alone; but when it dies it brings forth much fruit.

The people of Israel were held captive in Babylon for 70 years. But during those years they rediscovered God and His Word and who they were as a people. And the church in our opening example took the resistance to multiply (viewed as splitting up relationships in the community) and turned in into energy to build a small groups ministry that valued those relationships.

What resistance are you facing in your ministry? Are you using ‘boxing’ force tactics that are tiring you out? How can you direct the energy of this resistance toward a great goal?


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