Synergism – The Correlation Between Movement, Change and Improvement
Movement is an overriding theme of the Hebrew Scriptures. Adam and Eve are removed from the Garden of Eden. Hagar is cast into the desert with her rejected son. Lot flees Sodom. Abraham and Sarah leave their native land. The Hebrew nation escape Egypt and wander for forty years.
The New Testament also demonstrates this consistency of movement. Jesus was born on a road trip and then traveled to Egypt with Mary and Joseph. In the Gospels Jesus is constantly on the move even after his resurrection. The Holy Spirit descends on the early church and the apostles journey out to spread Jesus’s message. The book of Revelation captures the spiritual movements leading to the culmination of human history.
In each biblical narrative, God initiated movement is a source of spiritual energy that leads to lasting change. The impact of movement upon change is profound and undeniable. And, the impact of change on improvement is equally compelling.
There Can Be No Improvement Without Change
Without movement the status quo is maintained and there is no potential for change leading to improvement. Granted, not all movement is progress and not all change leads to improvement, but all improvements are the result of some movement that energized change.
In light of our biblical heritage of movement, Christians should be the most open to change. And, I find most believers want improvement in their lives and churches, but they don’t always want or welcome the change that improvement requires. Movement and the change it brings is the price we pay for improvement.
Staying the same in a changing world is a quick path to obsolescence for any organization, even the church.
Synergism – How Changing the Resource Mix Leads to Improvement
The definition of synergism is a situation where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. For example, assume you have a box of computer parts. Do you have a computer? Yes, but don’t expect it to perform any functions! The parts don’t really become a computer until they are put together in just the right way by someone who is skilled enough to do so.
Every church is composed of a mixture of parts, or resources such as staff, volunteers, budgets, buildings, methodologies and materials. The Synergism Principle states that how skillfully leaders allocate these resources is the difference between normal and maximum results.
Sometimes that skill is innate, for others it is learned and for still others it is simply a matter of devoting the necessary time and hard work. But as the biblical narrative illustrates, to be transforming the movement has to be God inspired, initiated and led.
The Synergism Principle further implies that you can’t see improvement without moving around or changing the resource mix in some way.
For example, you could realign staff and volunteer job descriptions; or you could reallocate the church budget; or you could change curriculum suppliers; or you could develop new programs and emphases; or you could reprioritize how you use your church facilities. But, how the church allocates its spiritual resources of worship, prayer and other spiritual disciplines and practices is the most catalytic.
The options for resource allocation are unlimited and unique to each church. The important point to remember is that you must move around, redistribute or change the resource mix if you ever hope to see improvement.
But, just changing the resource mix doesn’t guarantee improvement….the right changes have to made for improvement to occur. The effective change leader has the skill and motivation to consistently rearrange their church’s resources in such a way as to produce something better.
The bottom line is that intentional movement is a prerequisite of change and change is a necessary condition for improvement. And, improvement comes with changing the way you combine and arrange your church’s resources under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Church leaders can help their congregations understand the need for change by recognizing and communicating the relationship between movement, change and improvement. And, with greater understanding comes less resistance.
Posted on March 3, 2015