Using Peter Steinke’s SHIFT model (from Module 2: Introduction to Systems Thinking) read the case study and apply what you learned. (45 minutes) (Instruction are on the handout.)
Use the same SHIFT model and apply it to a current situation in your congregation. (45 minutes)
Team Building (from You and the Congregation as a System)
Have each board member identify their birth order and sibling composition in their family of origin. Use the chapter Sibling Position from The Eight Concepts of Bowen Theory: A new Way of Thinking About The Individual and the Group by Roberta M. Gilbert, MD as a basis for discussion.
- As individuals: Do Gilbert’s generalizations ring true for your experiences in your families of origin?
- As a group: Each person shares their birth order / sibling composition. Look for the intersections of sibling identity (e.g. one person might be the youngest brother of sisters and another might be the oldest sister.) Do you see patterns from your family of origin that might influence the relationships in the room?
- How can the board be mindful about how they work together, using a birth order systems lens?
Mission Work (from Got Purpose?)
Use the Mission from Values model to identify your congregation’s values.
- Do you have a mission statement? Does it reflect your core values — your congregation’s DNA?
- Does your congregation have a “vow with the universe,” i.e. an understanding of how you want to build the Beloved Community? Do you have a vision and/or strategic plan to help you get there? What aspirational values inspire you? How do your aspirational values connect to your core values?
- Do you have a congregational covenant? A board covenant? Do your covenants enable you to “stay at the table” when discussions get heated? Do your covenant enable you to forgive, heal and move forward together?
- What old congregational habits (accidental values) don’t serve your congregation’s mission and vision? How can you be strategic about dismantling old, unhelpful habits or practices?
- What goals can you set for the coming year to help you be more focused on mission and vision?
Create Cohesive Leadership (from Leading in Systems)
- Use the Cohesive Leadership handout.
- Have everyone on your team complete the Congregational Leadership Team Assessment and score it using the key on the back.
- Aggregate the scores for each of the 5 Behaviors. (See illustration at right.)
- See where your team’s strengths and growth areas are. Use the strategies on the Congregational Leadership Team Assessment to create or amend your board covenant.
- Consider revisiting your progress mid-year by repeating this exercise and comparing the aggregate team scores.