I thought a “church” version was needed:
Godin’s point in his post is this:
The problem with most business and leadership advice is that it’s a little like this…The two circles aren’t the point. Getting the two circles right is a good idea, but lots of people manage that part. No, the difficult part is learning to see what an owl looks like. Drawing an owl involves thousands of small decisions, each based on the answer to just one question, “what does the owl look like?” If you can’t see it (in your mind, not with your eyes), you can’t draw it.
Godin is railing against technical conferences that show how to get somewhere without showing the finished product.
The church parallel is that there are at least two types of churchy gatherings: instructive and celebrative.
- To Instruct is to show how to get from two circles to an Owl. These are the Evangelism conferences that fill my inbox, the conferences that show the “nuts and bolts” of how to get through a ministry process. While often helpful, they are often not transformative to individual churches or clergy because the process for every church is different. Just as drawing an Owl requires deciding where to start, each church starts from the “conference method” in a different area and sometimes they just don’t overlap. Sometimes they effect awesome change; sometimes it is just off the mark.
- To Celebrate is to bring out the Owl and celebrate it. Every year Methodists and other church groups sit through Annual Conferences or gatherings and hear how other areas of their denomination or region are doing. The ones that are usually the most attention-inducing are the ones that celebrate transformation: ministry with criminal justice ministries, with addiction recovery, with children and youth, with relief efforts, and other areas that show stories of transformation. While we can consider and think about “how did these people get transformed” the bulk of the report is on “these are the people who were transformed.” And it’s awesome, though sometimes not “transformative” to our own contexts.
As Godin concludes, if we can’t see the end result, we can’t begin to make the thousands of decisions that take people and places through the process of transformation:
Incubator programs and coaching work their best not when they teach people which circles to draw, but when they engage in interactive learning after you’ve gone ahead and drawn your circle. The iterative process of drawing and erasing and drawing some more is how we learn to see the world.
Whether you start with the vision of what can be, or you start with the “here’s our tools, what can we start building” the point is that a vision grounded in praxis is the most important part of growing a church, sustaining a mission, or helping a church transition into something new.
Thoughts? Is vision the most important part of a ministry? Or is the process more important than the product?