Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Swarm Theory and Church

Scientists have been studying swarm theory for many years, and today I came across this article dealing with how they are now applying that same theory to human behavior. I want to ponder some of the conclusions they came to and apply them to our church experience.

  1. Harmony – Swarms are such because a group of birds or bees or fish find benefits to harmonious relationships. Church has been likened by some to a herd of porcupines, but Jesus still thinks of us as sheep. I like that.
  2. Instant Messaging – Under this heading National Geographic gave three simple rules. (referring to a school of fish)
    1. Stick together – I know this because when we would fish for Mahi-Mahi in the Keys growing up, you always left one fish on the line until another was hooked. The school had a no fish left behind policy. I wish our churches would learn that.
    2. Avoid collusions – I am sure that in every situation, collusions happen. But they should be avoided at all costs.
    3. Swim in the same direction – Kind of a no brainer, but how often do we see churches divided over individuals expressing themselves, rather than expressing Christ. For this purpose we strive to get every newcomer into a 6 week “who we are” class so they can opt in or out.
  3. Natural Leadership – Under this photo researchers state that wildebeests “may be able to follow a migration route even if only a few of them know the way, … Never mind that the informed animals aren't trying to lead. The rest follow anyway.”
    1. What many believers fail to realize is that they are leading people. Even if they do not try to lead, others take cues from them. Some ways that happens in church may be…

i. Evangelism – You may be the only Bible some people read.

ii. Attitude – Bad attitudes in church are very contagious, by the way, so are good ones.

iii. Worship – One of the best ways to arrive at a place of worship is to realize that others around you are worshipping. I am not saying that we close our eyes and raise our hands for show, but when someone observes it in authenticity, it definitely transfers.

iv. Generosity – Have you ever been to a fundraiser where some guys got into a bidding war over a cake. Duncan Hines box cake sells for $50. Why? Because of natural leadership.

Well, that is all I have time for this morning. I will try to do a few more later this week. I’ve got a high level meeting with some other pastors this AM. We have an 8:30 appointment with God, that I cannot miss.