Throughout your journey in Churches Learning Change, you will learn these skills as well as a number of related subset skills based on our core values. You will learn how to practice them individually and as groups. And with the assistance of homework and coaching, you will be guided through discerning how to put them into practice in your local setting in order to seek God's shalom and congregational health-- as well as faithful, fruitful missional living.


A living system is a group of organisms with some level of interdependence and whose individual members BOTH influence the functioning of others and are influenced by the functioning of others. This includes all human interactions. Living systems are affected by the flow of acute and chronic anxiety that often lead to reactions of conflict, distancing, overfunctioning/underfunctioning, triangles, and blame. When we grow in the skill set of learning to think systems, we are able to more effectively remain calm, sense on our own anxiety and manage it, as well as be able to remain both defined and connected to the systems to which we belong.


Each congregation functions as an organizational system. Seeing the congregation as a system moves us away from cause-and-effect thinking and allows us to better understand the long-standing patterns, habits, and pressures to remain the same that many congregations face. When we see the congregation as a system, we identify metrics that help us see our progress toward our goals and foster empowering accountability.


Creative tension is the energy created when we have a clear, shared, and compelling vision of our Current Reality (where we are), as well as a clear, shared, and compelling vision of God's Emerging Future (where we can be). This is an effective tool for change with both individuals and congregations. Moving toward this vision and away from the Default Future (what happens if we do nothing) creates a tension that can help get us into action. Moving toward this vision also often brings up barriers that must be dealt with such as missing skills, integrity gaps, anxiety, and a lack of courage that can all hinder us along this process. Moving towards God's Emerging Future also necessitates a careful balance between operational leadership and adaptive leadership to handle the known and unknown factors as we move from our current reality toward a different future.


The Mental Model of Discipleship is an ongiong, dynamic relationship between Radical Obedience, Authentic Community, and Reflective Living where each piece interacts with and supports the others to help bring about transformation within the life of the disciple. Through Reflective Living we engage in patterns and practices that help us grow spiritually and keep us connected to Jesus. In Radical Obedience we step out to experiment and practice new ways of being around love for God, neighbor, stranger, and enemy. We also take personal responsibility for understanding and overcoming our places of habitual disobedience. Joining with others we seek to form an Authentic Community of grace and truth where we can support one another in our Radical Obedience and engage one another in our Reflective Living.


A Highly Effective Team is necessary to take on the work of adaptive leadership in moving toward God's Emerging Future. A Highly Effective Team is not the same as a workgroup but instead it is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and a shared approach, for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. A Highly Effective Team seeks to maintain a high level of trust, commitment, and accountability in their work.