jonathan stone's blog

. . . posts on faith and life

the future of movements, the death of institutions

Institutions are not evil. Institutions have not always been ineffective. In fact, some of the great advances of the Kingdom have come about in history by the work of institutions. There was a time when the model of the institution was the most effective model of the day. It’s just this: the day of the institution has passed, the day of the grassroots movement has come.

This is one of seven paradigm shifts that the well-respected Kennon Callahan identifies in his profound, simple, and mind-shattering book, “The Future That Has Come: The Possibilities of Reaching and Growing the Grass Roots.” Callahan, who has mainly worked as an educator and consultant for mainline Protestant churches, identified the coming shifts of as early as 1981. He contends that while any one of these shifts would have profound ramifications, what makes our time so unique is the convergence of multiple paradigm shifts happening simultaneously. This has created what he calls a “Mega-digm,” something that only happens every several hundred years or so.

I have found this book to be extremely helpful. Callahan writes with clarity and profound insight, and does not carry around some of the wounds and baggage that often accompany this type of insight. As an organization we are currently feeling the weight of carrying a model that has served church history well for 500 years, but is crumbling under it’s own weight in the new digital and mobile world. But not all of the rumbling you hear is the crumbling of old structures (wine skins), but also the rise of movements that begin when the grassroots take ownership of the mission of our Lord. This is an exciting adventure that we find ourselves on. And I highly recommend putting this book in your pack for the journey.

3 comments on “the future of movements, the death of institutions

  1. Phil Hoover, Chicago
    March 12, 2008

    Wow…don’t I get included on your blogroll?

    And oh yes, tomorrow is my ____ birthday…

  2. Dennis J Adams
    March 12, 2008

    Your are right on the target. So many texts have been penned or typed about this. I would hope that all would pack this book for their journey.

    I truly believe that their needs to be this guidance or “some” are going to throw out the baby and the bath water. Even if what you write explains it all. Thanks for posting this blog today. Good stuff GF4


  3. Jonathan Stone
    March 13, 2008

    Phil, wow! 46 years! You should give Ken a call and you two old guys can comfort each other. Happy Birthday! For your present I have added you to my prestigious blogroll. Actually, you were in my bookmarks, but I had not gotten around to putting the rest up. Many Blessings!

    Dennis, thanks. I’ll try to explain it all anyway–just in case someone listens. ; )

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This entry was posted on March 12, 2008 by in sustainability, trends.
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