Hacking Church Work

Getting Spirituality beyond the Structure

Hacking Work: Breaking Stupid Rules for Smart Results is a new book out that was recently featured on BoingBoing. Yes, it came across my radar given its title.

In its preview of its first pages, I noticed a stark similarity between its business focus and churchwork. I’ve rewritten the preview while changing the subject from business to church work.  Here’s the excerpt with well-defined additions:

Churchs love of lingering bureaucracy, legacy technologies, and deeply embedded procedures is killing us. More and more of us are finding that our church work tools and structures are completely out of sync with what we need to do our best. Most of our daily needs, dreams, desires, and goals are far ahead of our churchs’ technological, procedural, and social adoption curves.

The bad guys in this story are not economic turmoil or traumatic market shifts: nor are they your clergy or even your church. The bad guys are the tools, processes, procedures, and structures we all use to get church work done.

Church infrastructure is not keeping up with us. That which was supposed to help us now dictates too much of what we can’t get done. Our tools have become more bossy than our bosses…the tools we have outside of church work are leapfrogging past what we use on the job.

No kidding.

Here at Hacking Christianity, we’ve examined at least 3 areas where the church structure is woefully behind the abilities outside the church.

  1. People are now used to trying things out. Don’t let committees determine ministry readiness or perfection. Let the congregation beta-test them (BetaChurch)
  2. People are now empowered to question everything. Consider churchwork to be a process not a product (What the Church can Learn from Wikipedia)
  3. People are used to access and openness of media. Consider opening up the church hymnal and musical aspects to outsiders (Call for a people-powered hymnal)

Perhaps the church doesn’t need to water down its theology, give in to spectacle, or stand for nothing as the naysayers say. Perhaps it simply needs to offer the same opportunities for involvement that people get outside the church, but do it in such a way that they find deeper personal meaning through their involvement. The key point to consider is how to connect involvement with discipleship, of which I haven’t completely figured out yet either!


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