I would like to ask us to pause a moment and consider what this term means. I am not sure I am totally comfortable with the term or what it suggests.

If I am not mistaken it suggests a large shift from one place or concept to something different in a significant way. It also suggests polarity as if being on one side of the shift negates or excludes whatever of value was on the other side of the sift. It suggests switching from one thing to another and so leaving behind something. I don’t like these possible interpretations of the idea of a mega shift. A shift that is more than huge. I will stop here with my dislike for the term.

In some groups, the phrase used is a paradigm shift. The replacing of one conceptual model with another. I like this phrase better. It does not always involve replacing all the content with new content. A paradigm shift is about refocusing. It involves shifting the priorities of the content. And sometimes it does involve replacing old content with new or adding new to the old.

Think of a car in its basic function. Four wheels, motor, carriage, you know the basics. Then you can start adding and upgrading from there. The beauty is that you can modify this object in so many ways to adapt to so many situations and still it is a car. Enough of the analogy.

As we move forward, we are going to be discussing areas where we may need to shift our thinking. We may need new paradigms, ways in which we prioritize what must be done, how it should be done, and what will work best. It is not shifting from here to there but shifting things around so they function better in each setting. Think of furniture and the context of a house. You can use the same furniture in different houses, but put you may use or place it differently in each house depending on how the house is laid out. This may also mean adding and removing pieces based on that layout and size of the house.

We need to bring this concept to our discussion and allow ourselves to see the value of both aspects of the topics that will be covered.

This also leads me to one other concept I am not comfortable when we use the word shift. Shift suggests moving from here to there. It suggests a concept of either/or. This may not be a good concept for what we need to be processing. This is because both sides of the shift being discussed may contain concepts and ideas that are useful and necessary. In this case, we need to think of both/and as the guiding concept. Again the paradigm concept I am using of reorganizing and reprioritizing according to a given setting and context.

There are times when such shifts will be subtle and barely obvious and yet can have a great impact. There are other times when the shifts will be significant and will unsettle people as they are carried out. It all depends on where we are and what needs to happen for the shift to effectively accomplish what is needed.

Are you hearing my concerns? Mega shifts sound exciting but may actually not work or be beneficial because of what may be lost in moving in such a drastic and exclusive manner. Mega shifts may result in the loss of essential and critical truth if one is only focused on the need to change and not thinking carefully about just how much change is needed.

Finally, and I am probably repeating myself, we cannot assume that every topic we will discuss will apply equally to every situation. Even as every child is different and how we discipline and encourage them is different, every situation needs that same kind of attention and insight so that what shifts are made, and how great they are, match the reality of what exists and what is needed to move forward.

We have quite a challenge before us. We are being asked to evaluate what we have and think about what changes should/must be made for our organization to be truly effective going forward. I pray that what we learn as we process these topics and others will provide the guidance needed for our future growth and development as followers of Jesus.

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