Earlier this year I read the book Organic Community by Joseph R. Myers which compares the way a community can grow either by a master plan or organically. Master planning is what is done by most western organizations where it is top down every detailed planned out. While organic growth takes on a life of its own like a plant or other living organisms. This book was a very good compilation of things that we have been discussing and aiming at over the years.
In December I read the book Organic Church by Neil Cole which talks about how the church can be organic which is very different approach then most traditional churches. Both ideas fill in significantly concerning an understanding of what it means to be organic which is central to being a movement.
Every living thing is made up of a structure and a system. There are two types of structures that hold a living thing together and support the system. An exoskeleton is external and must be shed because it eventually inhibits growth. The second is endoskeleton which is internal is not seen with it’s main purpose to support and strengthen an organism. ATM is an endoskeleton.
An organic movement is viral, it takes on a life of it’s own and transforms as it moves forward. It can be compared to the way an epidemic spreads. DNA is what internally directs a movement not outside forces. ATM and its affiliates DNA, is our mission & vision statement, core values and commitment to a cause.
In an organic movement you describe what has taken place after it happens while in master planning you prescribe what will take place if things are done in a certain way. CHE/NT was designed from the beginning to be descriptive not prescriptive.
When we began to think about a CHE Movement in the early 2000’s it was designed as an organic order through and through even though we were not aware of those terms then. We talked about an upside down pyramid with flat organization structure.
A CHE/NT program may be thought of by some as master planned because we do give many steps to starting a program. But if we want a CHE/NT movement to take place it must not be prescriptive or controlled but there are some built in guides that focus growth around a cause with broad parameters.
The establishment of Global CHE Network and Collaborative for Neighborhood Transformation was from the beginning designed to be based on an organic order. If CHE/NT was to grow from a collection of mission organizations doing CHE/NT projects into a worldwide movement,
One more factor in an organic movement is leadership that is distributed not delegated. In delegation power and authority is from the top down. But distributed leadership comes from God to accomplish all that God has for that person without needing layers of intermediaries to pas that authority downward.
To be organic with enough skeletal characteristics to assist the collaborative to do what they want to accomplish.
The key to being a movement is being organic not master-planned therefore we will foster organic growth by helping others to see our cause and attract those that are like minded. Then we want to build their ownership in our joint cause. This means being flexible enough but around our vision and mission statements and core values to have a desired joint impact of transformation.
Everything we do is build around being an organic movement that uses its DNA that empowers us forward and our endoskeleton to hold us together in a loose way to move towards the accomplishment of our cause through CHE/NT as a vehicle to see this happen.
But to become an organic movement people must understand easily what we are all about. We talked about our cause statement in my last blog.