Leveraging the metaphor Ori Brafman popularized in his NYT best-selling book, The Starfish and the Spider, Rob Wegner, Lance Ford, and Alan Hirsch show why the distributed structures of starfish organizations are uniquely fit to the church. They can function without a rigid central authority, and their regenerative abilities make them nimbler in reacting to external forces. Seeding starfish networks inside today’s churches will prepare the church of tomorrow to be agile while still maintaining the necessary accountability to be effective.
Rather than advocating the adoption of a starfish structure in place of the hierarchy of the spider, Wegner, Ford, and Hirsch emphasize the advantages of adapting the structure and order inherent in a spider organization toward a hybrid model–either a Spiderfish approach (leaning toward centralization) or a Starder approach (leaning toward decentralization).
The Starfish and the Spirit is about creating a culture where church leaders view themselves as curators of a community on mission, not the source of certainty for every question and project. It is about creating a team of humble leaders “in the middle” of the church, not at the top–leaders who naturally reproduce multiple generations of leaders, from the middle out on mission. Imagine a church led by a team whose gifts and talents are completely unleashed, enabling everyone to show up and step up with all they really are. The joy and vigor coming from the collective strength, intelligence, and skill in the community of leaders not only brings greater potency but better yields for your ministry as well. What would it be like to see this kind of healthy leadership reproduced into the second, third, and fourth generation, on multiple strands?
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