Spiritual head count - results LO13341

Edwin Brenegar III (brenegar@bulldog.unca.edu)
Tue, 22 Apr 1997 07:33:54 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO13325 --

I think you are observing a phenomenon which reaches beyond LO people.

For example, I've been an ordained Presbyterian minister since 1981. I
spent 6 years in the parish, then moved into college chaplaincy and
student leadership development, and now for the past two years have begun
a business helping organizations, including churches in their leadership
development, strategic planning, visioning, board development, etc. I'm
still an ordained minister, work part time with students at a local state
university. I didn't change religions, only the context of service.

I see the work I do as an extension and expression of my faith and
calling. I moved out of the traditional pastoral role because I was not
challenged by it. That is not to say that others are not, but, in all
humility, I was bored in that role. There are some LO reasons for that,
but that's for another time.

I think the direction to look to answer your questoins is in the nature of
religious instituions from a LO point of view. This is my own unscientific
assessment. If an organization doesn't have a clear means of assessing
its effectiveness, then it is easy to slip into a form of organizational
conservatism (not in the political sense) which wants to conserve either
present equilibrium or a recalling of past days of vitality. The pastor
then is no longer the leader of a vital team based organization, but a
manager with hundreds of supervisors holding him or her accountable for
their own personal expectations, or becomes the curator of the museum of

What is the mission of a church, synagogue or mosque? An outsider can't
determine that, only the practiioners within. But an outsider can
determine if it is clear and working through observation. If it is
unclear how do they measure whether they have fulfilled that religious
mission, then how can they tell if their organization is working. I see
it first hand in many of the churches with whom I work. And I see it in
many of the business and community based organizations too.

This is an LO issue, and one of the reasons that I am constantly
attempting to interpret LO principles to people in churches. If churches
or any other religious institution could just employ Senge's five
disciplines, it would dramatically change the way the function. Imagine
the empowerment that would come from just seeing their church as a system.
And then you would find people staying in the same congregation for

I was told several years ago, that, since 1975, of the new members in
Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations, 70% were raised in
non-Presbyterian churches . Yes, people are self-selecting. The question
is why. And I believe that part of the answer lies in an assessment from
a LO perspective.

What do you think?

Ed Brenegar/ Leadership Resources
210 Wood Dale Drive Hendersonville, N.C. 28791 USA
704/693-0720 voice/fax Email: brenegar@bulldog.unca.edu

Edwin R. Brenegar III <brenegar@bulldog.unca.edu>


Edwin Brenegar III <brenegar@bulldog.unca.edu>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>