It’s common to hear that organizations are striving to become more nimble these days.  What does that mean for a church?

  • The worship bulletin says we are singing Hymn #100 but at the last minute we switch to #84?
  • Maybe we’ll have Bible study this week and maybe we won’t?
  • There are no set office hours?

Uh, no.  That’s not what it means to be a nimble church. Processes and schedules are not the issue. In fact, processes and schedules can actually set us free to be more nimble in other, more creative ways.

Not nimble: Creating something new and requiring every detail to be spelled out and every question to be answered before giving it a chance.

Nimble: Having a basic plan, consider the “what ifs?” and then try it.  We can tweak details later.

Not nimble: Creating something new, loving it, and then institutionalizing it “forever.”

Nimble:  Agreeing that youth cotton candy sculpture contest was a blast but it’s okay if we don’t do it again anytime soon.

Not nimble: Discerning a fresh idea for mission and making the creators jump through 7 hoops before they can carry it out.

Nimble:  If it falls within the core values and the budget of the church, we try it.

Not nimble: Designing our staff the way we’ve always done it.

Nimble: Designing our staff based on our community’s particular needs.

Mary Ann McKibben Dana’s new book on improv comes out May 8th and I hope you’ll pre-order it like I have.  Being nimble includes being open to improvisational ministry – which makes total sense in these days when cookie cutter churches and “business as usual” don’t work anymore (if they ever did.)

We human beings are healthier physically when we stay nimble.  Organizations are healthier when we are organizationally nimble too.

Those of us who like to know exactly what to expect might find this uncomfortable.  But just as our world is quick and shifting and full of surprises, our ministry must be prepared, as well, to be quick, shifting and full of surprises!

Image source.

2 responses to “Nimble



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