The world I grew up in taught that there is one way to do everything and one size fits all. That’s the heart of the industrial world of modernity.

However, just the opposite is true today. You know that if you own most any kind of software or cell phone. Almost everything today is undergoing decentralization. That’s the nature of the beast.


However, with decentralizing there has to be an overarching mind at work that holds all the pieces together, otherwise there is chaos.

Visa is one of the best examples. No office or headquarters or even paid personnel just the software (the mind) that makes sure whenever a purchase is made with a Visa card it goes through the same channels to the right place. Visa cards are good all over the world; a vendor is empowered to accept the card as long as the DNA of the mind is followed.

The same is true in the church. No matter how decentralized a church becomes, there is still one mind that guides or controls the outcome depending on the style of the one with the mind. I personally like leaders who guide better than they control. When the leader guides instead of controlling, growth happens much more quickly. It’s called empowerment. But not matter how decentralized the church becomes the team has to have the same DNA as the leader. When that is the case, empowerment occurs throughout the organization.

One of the best examples in the church world is the multi-site approach to ministry. No matter how many sites there are they all have the same DNA if they are to avoid chaos. Even when the DNA is the same in all the leaders, there is still a form of controlled chaos. Dee Hock, founder of Visa, describes it as “chaordic.”

One of my favorite examples is Community Christian in Naperville, IL. They are decentralizing all over the place with multiple locations, even out of town. However, the same mind guides all the decisions because they all have the same DNA. They call it The Big Idea. Every campus uses the same message and graphics no matter what city the campus is in. The more decentralized a church becomes, the larger it can grow as long as there is one mindset underlying it all.

Question: How does this square with how you are leading your church? Do you have a tight grip on what happens, or do you allow diversity as long as it contains the DNA? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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