Thank you for following along with us as we read Navigating the Future together.

We invite you to grab your copy of the book, a journal to write your reflections, and engage with our content as we learn from Dr. Jones what it means to utilize traditioned innovation to thrive in our communities and institutions. *

This week, we are ending our conversation with how our collaborative relationships keep our imagination renewed, the value in improvisation, and the ways in which our thriving institutions can be sustainable.

Chapter 6: Collaborating

In order to foster imagination for our lives, communities and institutions, we must build relationships with others.
Dr. Jones introduces Six Collaborative relationships we need:

1. Holy friends who help us dream dreams we wouldn’t otherwise have dreamed, help us affirm gifts we would be afraid to claim, and challenge the sins we have come to love.
2. Unlikely friends (we will probably need to seek these out) who help us to uncover our blind spots and biases, illumine our imaginations and generate new insights, and build bridges that foster communal flourishing.
3. Vibrant Institutions that create spaces that pattern human life and address fundamental human needs and yearnings.
4. Networks that nurture conceptual breakthroughs, cultivate Christian imagination, and practice traditioned innovation.
5. An entrepreneurial collaboration that cultivates virtues, learns from failure, cultivates relations and teams built on trust.
6. Cross-sector learning which is found at the intersection of disciplines and helps us to look at problems through a multi-faceted lens.

We are given examples of these relationships in Chapter 6.

Which of the six collaborative relationships listed above does your congregation rely on the most when imagining or envisioning the future?

Which of the listed relationships would your church benefit from if the relationship was cultivated more?

Chapter 7: Improvising and Sustaining

We need to cultivate vibrant institutions that are equipped and continually renewed for the work that awaits them as the future unfolds.  This chapter focuses on looking forward – the art of acting on ideas and ideals and sustaining actions that can move us toward the future we imagine.

We need to consider our metaphors.
Our metaphors matter because language creates reality.  Our mental models of reality shape the meaning we give to the world, and in return, the ways we approach our “working forward” toward the future.

We must learn to improvise.
Improvisation values the preparation, anchoring, and guidance from our traditions – AND recognizes this moment is new. Dr. Jones introduces us to Sam Well’s idea of overaccepting, and challenges us to think beyond blocking or accepting new opportunities with others.

As your congregation participates in Asset Mapping or the Future Conversation, how can your leadership team practice improvisation?

Sustainability is as a way of operating to meet our present needs without compromising the ability of those who follow us to operate in a way that meets their needs.

Dr. Jones focuses on Gary Pisano’s three suggestions to alter organizational ecosystems to sustain innovation, and adds a fourth suggestion. We find these suggestions on page 197.

Did you highlight or underline these suggestions in your book? We did!

Fill in the blanks (from page 197)
Institutions can sustain innovation when they…

  • Have an ______________ strategy
  • Create _________ and __________ that align with the organization’s ________________
  • Build an innovation ______________
  • Practice _________-________ that is continually traditioning and improvising.

Again, thank you for following along and engaging with our content as we read Navigating the Future. We hope you’ve enjoyed this series.

To close, we chose Dr. Jones’ closing words as you and your church community continue to navigate these wilder seas:

In June 2021, participating pastors received Navigating the Future by Dr. Gregory Jones & Andrew Hogue.

*We encourage you to gather your answers in a word document or journal – and feel free to leave us your thoughts in the comments below! Reply to others’ reflections or submit your own reflection.

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