An Organizational Growth Cap Theory

When I consider companies like Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon, the one constant I think of is change. Interestingly, after I typed that first sentence, I Googled “Most Innovative Companies” and found Fast’s list for 2012. How close do you think I got to their list? See for yourself HERE. But, don’t be impressed with my guesswork. You could have done the same thing, because it’s obvious to us that these companies are all about change.

Then I think of churches I know…some of the most growing, Kingdom-impacting churches I know are also the most innovative…the most open to continual change. I think of, for example. Not only have they impacted many with their vision for multi-site/video venues, but they’ve also helped us discover or been a part of YouVersion and Open, a resource website for churches and ministries. I also think of Andy Stanley’s North Point and how their version of doing church and Andy’s preaching style has impacted so many others. Both LifeChurch and North Point appear to be a culture of change. From what I read about their culture, change is continually being introduced.

Let me be clear. I’m not advocating that either of the church models is the right one for every church. Neither are they the exact right model for the church I pastor. I am interested in church growth. I do like to see progress. I do want to avoid capping Kingdom growth.

I am suggesting that there may be something about growth we can learn from the two examples…business and church. My personal experience, and watching other organizations succeed, has led me to believe that there is something about continual change that produces continual growth.

In fact, I wonder if:

The level of growth an organization can experience may be determined by its level of tolerance or resistance to change.

I’m still processing that thought.

What do you think?

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20 thoughts on “An Organizational Growth Cap Theory

  1. Change, Transformation, Growth, Development–all powerful words. About what you were pondering upon, when changes are pressed upon an organization, the decision to change should be determined by a valid organizational point of reference.This point of reference is the standard by which all movements are evaluated. For a church, for instance, the valid point of reference is the revelation of the will of God.
    Great post.

  2. Thanks Ron. The two staff members who are difficult were raised in our church so they aren't going anywhere. I inherited them when I came. We have grown a lot but they only like to be with the people who were here before the growth. They like a small church and don't like the changes I've implemented and they don't like the growth. But they have the support of a group that has been here for a long time. I would strongly encourage any pastor to never hire someone who is from the church. It is not a good idea at all.

  3. I think I would have to agree with Tim Price, without the chaos they will not see nor understand the reason for the change! Might want to be sure you have a tough hide, though, anger is sure to rise to new heights when the chaos begins! That chaos started because too many were quite comfortable where they were.
    Twitter: bryankr

  4. I think you're on to something. I would add two words: trust and tension. People need to trust that change has a purpose. And there's a tension between reaching new users and taking care of existing ones. Take Apple; it walks a fine line between alienating current customers for the sake of reaching new ones. It's customers may not have initially appreciated the changes with the latest iPhone. But they've come to trust the company that changes, some of which are intended to build a larger customer base, will make things easier and better. Maybe it's similar in church world.

  5. I have to say that i agree with Ben Jameson as well as you Ron. We do need to look at other churches and the growth that they are seeing but we need to also make sure the styles that they are using are that of biblical basis and not of seeker sensitivity. We also have church board leaders who have been in leadership roles even before the current pastors installed. so changing the style and the desire or understanding that some change is good and needed may go on the wayside due to tradition. When we get past what is designated tradition and what is designated biblical then we may start seeing growth in the church

  6. Change is required for growth, that change and growth has to start with me. I have to always follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, but I need to be the 1st one willing to lay down my preconceived notions of church.

    With that said, I serve at a multi-generational church. Some of our older members are not real excited about change. I am learning to be patient and make sure we do not leave anyone behind. For some I have to "soften the blow" of change. Ultimately I can't change a person, only God can do that.

  7. As a pastor, my biggest problem is with staff who are unwilling to change. They get comfortable and think everything is good enough for them and put it on cruise control. Change requires hard work and I’ve had staff that don’t want to do the hard work. When the staff doesn’t want to change, the church won’t either. They told me in seminary that dealing with difficult church members would be my greatest stress. Wrong! Staff members are the greatest source of stress. They can make or break you.