There are two questions and I’m going to answer both of them in this post.
Here’s the first question:
“How leadership will change technology and vice-versa.”
Here’s what I think: principles never change, but methods always do. In this case technology is the changing method, but the principles behind leadership will never change. I think what technology does is increase the reach of what you’re doing. Decades ago, the early adopters of technology began using radio as the means to reach more people. Instead of speaking to hundreds they could now communicate with hundreds of thousands. To quote someone I heard recently, “technology is soul-less.” It’s a thing. It’s an it. By itself it can’t do much. But in the hands of a wise leaders, it can increase his reach.
Now I’m not making a political statement, but I believe Barack Obama was wise in how he used technology. With it, he was able to reach and speak directly to groups of people that may not have paid too much attention before. He would send out text and YouTube video messages. Their volunteers would invite you to join their Facebook pages. He spoke the language (principle) in a way that made people listen (method).
I’m no expert in the field, but I don’t think that leadership has changed that much throughout time. Leaders have always been those that have been able to describe reality as it is, give a picture of how the future could be, and then lead the people to get there. Those fundamentals have always and always will be there. So I don’t think that we should make technology the thing. The message and principle is always the thing, and should never be eclipsed by the use technology.
Here’s the second question:
“New ideas, resources about small groups, specifically Nelson Searcy’s view.”
For those of you that don’ t know, Nelson Searcy is the founding pastor of the Journey Church in New York City. He also does coaching through an organization called Church Leader Insights. His organization coaches senior pastors, worship leaders, church planters, and small group pastors through different live coaching events as well as through telephone coaching. If there’s more interest I can give some more information on the benefits of coaching, which I highly recommend. I’m involved in his tele-coaching network for pastors and it has been a huge blessing.
Concerning small groups, there seem to be endless varieties. Nelson Searcy pioneers a semester-based free market group system. He has an excellent book on the subject called Activate. I highly recommend it and believe it to be one of the most thorough and helpful books on small groups I’ve ever read. Let me give you the gist of the system:
First of all, they are based upon a free market philosophy. That means that the groups can be of varied topics such as biblical finance, a group for men, or a running group. The only common denominator is that in every group there must be prayer and they must discuss biblical principles. So the biblical finance group might study through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University materials. The men’s group might study Experiencing God. Or the running group might study some other book, and then go for a run together.
Secondly, they are semester-based. Each year is divided into three 8-12 week semesters. So there is a winter, spring, and summer semester. After every semester there is a one month break. So there is three months on and one month off. The month off, called a promotion month, serves several purposes. For one, it gives the leaders and attenders a break. Nelson Searcy calls this the “stress and release” principle. During that month off they also heavily promote the next series of small groups and encourage people to sign up.
So if I went to church on a typical promotion month, I would have a list in the church bulletin of the upcoming groups, and I could check off which group I wanted to join. There would also be group leaders in the lobby that I could speak to and get more information from or I’d be able to sign up on the church website.
In my opinion, this seems to be the superior model out there. I did cell groups for almost three years, and it completely wore out my leaders. This system is decentralized like a cell group, but it has the added advantage that it can reach and minister to a greater spectrum of people. In fact, within the Seventh-day Adventist church, there was a pastor (Dave Livermore) that was using a very similar method of semester-based small groups, and experienced very good growth. His was one of the fastest growing Adventist churches in North America.
Concerning resources for small groups Nelson Searcy offers the book, Activate, as well as various recorded workshops that can be purchased from the Church Leader Insights website.
I hope that answers your questions. If not let me know and I can get you more information. Remember to use the Skribit tool on the blog to add questions you’d like to see addressed in a future post of You Asked For It!
So what do you think? How do you think technology will change leadership, and what are some systems of small groups that you’ve used and can recommend?