Just because you have a missional strategy and plan does not necessarily mean it will be sufficient to get you to where you will be in three years especially in light of the evolving and changing world of technology and privacy. Look at your policies from three years ago primarily in technology. Did you have any? Were they necessary for the time? More importantly were they sufficient? Look at where you are today. Especially look at how you addressed cybersecurity and privacy three years ago and where you are finding yourself today as states like California introduce laws dealing with privacy and cybersecurity.
The impetus for reinventing your mission with your eye on the technological, industrial evolutions is to drive real foresight and come to an understanding of potential forces in the marketplace, in your infrastructure, and people that would require reinvention as an on-going process of improvement to meet your goals, strategy, and mission.
For example, effects in the market would be Governments and Regulators both at the Federal level and at the State level as we are seeing with California. The reason cyber and privacy have become such a focus is that “the art of reinvention” has taken hold is the on the dark side of the web, rogue countries, hostile leaders, individuals scanning the net looking for data that can be used, abused, repacked and reinvented for financial gain. These organizations are making tremendous investments in their “work and art” which will have a cause/effect on your church, your mission.
The world of cyber and privacy legislation and policies are evolving in various forms of public, quasi-public, and private manifestations. Look at the EU, and you see what is called the General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR) that touches every religious, not for profit, for profit and any entity that holds, maintains and uses data of a personal nature. We are living in an era of regulations that for many is the first time touches religious organizations, and this is not a question of separation of church and state but a question of protection of data. As stewards of the people of God, we must protect to the best of our ability data that we as churches capture and hold relating to the day to day life of the church. We can expect more cycles of concern there will be more and more regulations.
Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase: “The medium is the message.”
We see this clearly in today’s world especially with the evolution of technology. Look at how Robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, The Internet of Things, 3D printing, and autonomous vehicles are technological advances enabling the market forces to drive change and drive change in our churches our mission. Churches are reinventing themselves because of their existence, and this has been a historical reality since the patristic period and the early church as we read the Acts and the letters of Paul. The entire missional model in the modern world is changing for churches because our world is changing.
The technologies of the fourth industrial evolution all have a common denominator. The internet. The internet is enabling churches to reinvent themselves and address the realities of cyber threats and privacy concerns. There is an old saying amongst strategy consultants in business: “If you reinvent you survive; if not you die.”
Our thinking as church leaders has to change as we evolve through the next two industrial revolutions.
If you think being a “stable church or denomination” is a good thing, you also have to realize that you must destabilize every aspect of the organization to remain stable.
Let that statement sink in for a moment.
Church Leaders must lead the change in privacy and technology, and think of themselves as leaders of change and not managers of processes. (let that statement sink in too)
There is an old saying in business, “No company ever shrank to greatness.” I believe you can apply that same saying to churches: “No Church ever shrank to greatness’. Once again look at the early church the patristic period. No shrinking there if anything it was a period of time when all the leaders put it all on the table and forged ahead. What this means to church leaders is you manage, you LEAD to the future and not the present, and this includes managing the technical aspects of the mission because technology is not divorced from our daily life. The change in thinking will require your organization to be opportunistic; which means you should plan for opportunistic events.
This re-invention of how our operating model works to bring about the mission of God is an on-going process of improvement, and it is not easy. Reinvention is hard work. The lynchpin is visionary leadership.
Will the new disruptive technologies leverage you into the future? Expand your mission may involve expanding the boundaries of your mission. The internet and the disruptive technologies of this industrial evolution are enabling churches to expand beyond their current borders into new markets they have not dreamt possible before now.
Keep in mind the technologies that enable change and help in bringing about the mission of God are also technologies that will challenge you in the new era of privacy, data management, governance, and cybersecurity.
Technology is the enabler of keeping members connected between church gatherings.
Protection of data is the operational covenant between church leaders and the congregation.