Back on Wednesday, April 23 I wrote a post called This Isn’t Your Parent’s Prayer Chain. The post was about a young woman in our church, Katherine Wolf, who was one of the volunteer leaders in the Young Marrieds ministry, and who went through an unbelievable 13 hour emergency brain surgery at UCLA.
There are a lot of amazing things that are coming out of this story, such as the unwavering faith of family and friends. The huge network of people praying for her and her family. God’s continued grace, presence, support and protection during this very difficult time, etc.
But what has really, really impressed me as well is the way that Katherine Wolf’s circle of friends have self-organized in a powerful way, and created amazing avenues and opportunities for people to be involved.
It’s probably cause I read The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations a few months ago.
And maybe it’s also cause I just finished Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything.
And last night I was reading through Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.
What do they all have in common? Basically, people are organizing themselves in powerful ways that thwart the traditional means of organization through leaders in authoritative, hierarchical positions. No longer do people need to go through an institution to achieve their end goal. Many churches already know this, and still, so many other don’t. Those who recognize the shift will be in positions to harness the unbelievable creative power of a church community. Those who don’t will find themselves struggling to carry out the vision for their church community.
Recently, two of Katherine’s friends, JT and Syd Taylor, who have also been heavily involved as leaders in the Young Marrieds took this concept even further.
They created The Romans 8 Movement, and I can hardly properly explain all that it entails. But overnight they have created a site, and employed the available tools of web 2.0 and the new media, and in the process have unleashed a storm of creativity and inspiration in the community. Songs are being written and performed. People are making videos, taking photos, memorizing scripture, etc. Here is what the site says they are about:
We want to get as many people as possible to memorize the entire chapter of Romans 8… Go ahead and memorize it, recite it, post it, video yourself learning it, youtube it, get your friends and your church to learn it with you!
Our dear friend Katherine Wolf (www.katherinewolf.info) has always been able to recite the entire chapter of Romans 8 and encourages others to learn it. On April 21st, 2008 she suffered a brain hemorrhage from a cerebral AVM and underwent 13.5 hour emergency brain surgery. The doctors had painted a very grim picture…but they did not know how many thousands of people were praying for her across the country (even the world). She is currently in the ICU and progressing far beyond what was expected, but she is still in need of constant prayers and miracles. She and her husband, Jay, are in their 20’s and have a 6 month old baby boy. Jay is in his last year of law school and was set to take his law school finals the day she collapsed.
There are so many people across the globe that have been touched by Katherine and her current crisis. In addition to interceding with prayer, we believe this is something we can all do for her that would mean the world to her. She knows the word of God has power and can transform lives. So, we want to be able to go into her ICU room and tell her how many people are commited to memorizing Romans 8.
WE ARE HERE TO HELP:
Don’t worry…..we know this may be easy to sign up for and very hard to do…so we are here to help you with whatever tools we can dream up. Previous to this project, we put the entire book of Colossians to music, so we are putting the whole chapter to music and will be video blogging the process. We will have podcasts, and tips and tricks, studies, and will find as many ways to keep you encouraged as we can. But just when you think ‘this is too hard’….think of Katherine and how hard Katherine is struggling just to move her hands and give a ‘thumbs up’ to her visitors….and it may keep things in perspective.
They will be the first to admit that they are not professionals at this, and they have careers, friends, family and church to attend to as well. But through this movement we are getting just a little insight into the future, and I think especially the future of the Church in many ways.
I’m not an expert, nor a prophet. But I think that the days are waning when we will see churches operate in the old models of hierarchical structures and leadership. I think the days are waning when congregants will feel the need to go through the leadership channels to accomplish tasks and carry out their visions for the Church community. There will always be the old models of operating, and many will gravitate towards them, but I think we are seeing the dawning of new age in Church where the community self-organizes and creatively together carries out the vision of the Church.
So Church leaders can either tap into this, and harness (to use the word from Wikinomics) the amazing creativity of people in the community, or they can resist the changes and soon find themselves in a tough predicament.
So, please go out and support The Romans 8 Movement.