SlideShare a Scribd company logo
Church & Credibility 
in a 
Postmodern World
that became a 
modern institution 
and now must shift to a 
Postmodern context 
modern context 
modern context 
modern context 
modern context 
modern context 
modern context 
modern context 
Post-colonialist 
Post-secularist 
Post-rationalist 
Post-communist 
Post-capitalist 
Post-nationalist 
Post-institutionalist 
Post-patriarchal 
Post-Christendom
what never changes? 
lineage 
doctrine 
structure 
teaching 
practices 
values 
mission 
shift and 
stability
what never changes? 
lineage 
doctrine 
structure 
teaching 
practices 
values 
mission 
shift and 
stability
Old 
L a t e T r a n s i t i o n 
Paradigm/ 
Model 
E a r l y T r a n s i t i o n 
New 
Paradigm/ 
Model
Postmodern shift 1 
from exclusivity 
to inclusivity 
to solidarity 
(for common good)
Postmodern shift 2 
from claims of inerrancy to humility, 
acknowledging and learning from 
mistakes
Postmodern shift 3 
from changeless doctrine to 
consistent methodology: 
community building 
healing teaching 
meaningful ritual 
spiritual formation (all ages) 
mission deployment
Postmodern shift 4 
from mandated liturgy to 
transformative liturgy: 
transforming identity 
transforming behavior 
through rituals 
and practices
Postmodern shift 5a 
from institutional self-protection 
to vital collaborative mission: 
saving the world.
Postmodern shift 5b 
from organized religion 
to religion organizing for the 
common good: 
planet, poverty, peace, 
pluralism
Postmodern shift 6 
from hierarchy to networks 
- authority to accountability 
- isolation to mutual influence 
- competition to collaboration 
- centers to margins & beyond
Postmodern shift 7 
from changeless doctrine to 
unfolding story. 
(Next session)
Postmodern shifts 
solidarity 
humility 
methodology 
liturgy 
mission 
networks 
story
Postmodern shifts 
beauty 
solidarity 
humility 
methodology 
liturgy 
mission 
networks 
story
Church & Credibility 
in a 
Postmodern World
There are many reasons 
to compare our churches 
to an old male tortoise 
…

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  • 1. Church & Credibility in a Postmodern World
  • 2.
  • 3. that became a modern institution and now must shift to a Postmodern context modern context modern context modern context modern context modern context modern context modern context Post-colonialist Post-secularist Post-rationalist Post-communist Post-capitalist Post-nationalist Post-institutionalist Post-patriarchal Post-Christendom
  • 4. what never changes? lineage doctrine structure teaching practices values mission shift and stability
  • 5. what never changes? lineage doctrine structure teaching practices values mission shift and stability
  • 6. Old L a t e T r a n s i t i o n Paradigm/ Model E a r l y T r a n s i t i o n New Paradigm/ Model
  • 7. Postmodern shift 1 from exclusivity to inclusivity to solidarity (for common good)
  • 8. Postmodern shift 2 from claims of inerrancy to humility, acknowledging and learning from mistakes
  • 9. Postmodern shift 3 from changeless doctrine to consistent methodology: community building healing teaching meaningful ritual spiritual formation (all ages) mission deployment
  • 10. Postmodern shift 4 from mandated liturgy to transformative liturgy: transforming identity transforming behavior through rituals and practices
  • 11. Postmodern shift 5a from institutional self-protection to vital collaborative mission: saving the world.
  • 12. Postmodern shift 5b from organized religion to religion organizing for the common good: planet, poverty, peace, pluralism
  • 13. Postmodern shift 6 from hierarchy to networks - authority to accountability - isolation to mutual influence - competition to collaboration - centers to margins & beyond
  • 14. Postmodern shift 7 from changeless doctrine to unfolding story. (Next session)
  • 15. Postmodern shifts solidarity humility methodology liturgy mission networks story
  • 16. Postmodern shifts beauty solidarity humility methodology liturgy mission networks story
  • 17. Church & Credibility in a Postmodern World
  • 18. There are many reasons to compare our churches to an old male tortoise …

Editor's Notes

  1. The Hubble Space Telescope captured this image of a violent collision of two distant galaxies which triggered massive amounts of star formations in a spectacular fireworks show. (Accessed on November 15, 2004 from http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/stars_galaxies/sg_images/hubble_pic_browse.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/stars_galaxies/stargazing/stargazing_image.html&h=286&w=400&sz=13&tbnid=aS9vjMk1n4QJ:&tbnh=85&tbnw=118&start=4&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dplanetary%2Bcollision%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D) Let’s draw a parallel. When 2 worlds collide in space, it creates a galactic fireworks show. When 2 worldviews collide, the effects are similar in the social, cultural, and spiritual realms. On the lower left you see the leadership paradigm belonging to modernity. On the upper right you see the leadership paradigm belonging to postmodernity. Notice these are such distinct models that there is no overlap. Modernity was characterized by organizations that were centralized, hierarchical, vertical, mechanistic, executive-oriented, bureaucratic, rigid and transactional. Postmodern organizations are decentralized, flattened, horizontal, team-based, organic, fluid, flexible and transformational. The only connector is the fact that we are in transition from one to another. And it is this period of history, the transition, that we currently find ourselves in. And it’s bound to be a painful journey for leaders who care to make the trek. But as Ronald Heifitz of Howard University’s Leadership Education Project asserted, “There are lots of things in life that are worth the pain. Leadership is one of them.” That statement could never be more true than when applied to this most challenging period of worldview transition.