“Each of us is born with two contradictory sets of instructions: a conservative tendency, made up of instincts for self-preservation, self-aggrandizement, and saving energy, and an expansive tendency made up of instincts for exploring, for enjoying novelty and risk–the curiosity that leads to creativity belongs to this set.”
I’m writing this short article in conjunction with IMN consultant Dale Swinburne’s piece on “Energy.” In his piece Dale asks:
Where does energy come from?
How much does energy cost to fill up on?
How can you use energy most efficiently?
When is energy wasted?
His piece is about an energy crisis of a personal nature, the human energy crisis.
My goal in this piece is to create a desire to cultivate the second in the set of contradictory instructions.
Let’s face it, not much has to be done to motivate us towards self-preservation. In our natural world, we all know that survival is both a primal mover and shaper of the human will. The second set of instructions, oddly enough, require some nurture. Like a mother bird pushing a baby bird out of the nest, where the hatchling was getting along just fine, we need a nudge to risk following our instincts to explore.
Our churches suffer from settling in on one side of this equation. They nest. They become inert. We can all complain about that. But, the truth is that even we leaders eventually, slowly, and surely, like the proverbial frog in the kettle of water that is being brought to a slow boil suddenly finds himself cooked, find ourselves content to finally settle in and get comfortable.
There are three forces at work in the world that make it impossible for us to nest happily.
- The first is the world. The world is not right. This fact irritates us like an itch that simply cannot be ignored.
- The second is the spirit of Christ. It motivates like a fire underneath a kettle. Eventually, the heat that has been building within the water must burst through the surface of the seemingly calm water in an eruption of energy.
- The third is our own nature. We must explore and risk and create. As a species, Homo Sapiens cannot tolerate long periods of boredom.
We are not at our best when we are in a self-preservation mode. That’s why one of the major leadership tasks of our age is to nurture the human spirit of exploration and creativity. We need to help create momentum where there is inertia. Many of us are stuck in organizational structures that once helped us maximize our freedom to create and work together. But now these church structures are like old wineskins, unable to contain our creative capacities. In order to get our communities moving again, we’ll need to forget structure, policies and planning and go back to answer a primal and fundamental question: why did we come here to begin with? [Now read the text in the image above].
An eruption of energy waits for us at the end of that question.
Here is the thought for you leaders for ponder. The way you energize human community is what characterizes you as a leader. So, how do you maintain the high energy level required for this task?
What do you think?
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