Facebook as a Monument

It’s HUGE! Almost everyone I know is on it! (Except my mom.)


I once wrote a post about how organizations go through a series of changes. These are not my original ideas. They come from a guy named Floyd McClung. Anyway, Here are the steps:

1. It begins with a Man on a Mission.

2. It gains a following and excitement creates a Movement with momentum.

3. As the kinks are worked out, rules begin to govern the infrastructure and it becomes an efficient Machine.

4. In time, it becomes a Monument. People have particular expectations and the organization can’t deviate from it very far before they begin to lose patrons. The Monument becomes trapped between patron expectations and innovation. They usually begin protecting themselves from extinction by leaning in the direction of their patrons and will ultimately die. Their patrons will either move to another organization or die themselves.

Facebook seems to be making more Monument-type decisions. It’s my very uninformed opinion, (I certainly could be wrong.) but they seem to be out of the “innovation business” and instead are stealing Google+ innovations. (Circles, Hangouts, etc.) I also recently got a message saying they would no longer allow my blog to be converted into a Facebook note. These kinds of decisions look a lot like “Monument” decisions. It’s all about protecting their market share and hindering collaborative work because they want all the market. Like I said, I could be wrong, but it just looks and feels that way to me.

Interestingly, if enough others “feel” this way (whether it’s true or not), it could cause them to lose their market. I’m not planning on leaving facebook, but it’ not ’cause I like what they do – it’s cause they already have my network of people. It’s also interesting to note that once an organization is a Monument, it’s really only a matter of time before they die as well. I wonder what will capture the new market? Will Google+ step in or will there something even better around the corner?

Man, Movement, Machine, & Monuments

Leigh Anne, Trey, Steve, & Miranda
Leigh Anne, Trey, Steve, & Miranda

Miranda and I got to hang out with some friends who are missionaries a few weeks ago. Trey and Leigh Anne are some of the coolest people I know. Anyway, during our time together, Trey and I had a great conversation and he said something I wanted to share with you. I’ve caught myself sharing it in a few conversations since then already. (That means it’s something I really latched on to.) I can’t remember where he got the info, but I know it’s not original to him either. Anyway, here it is:

The changes that take place in most organizations over time can be defined by these stages:

1. A Man on a Mission – is how things get started.

2. A Movement – is formed as this man and his mission attract/involve other people who are passionate about the same things.

3. A Machine – is built as the movement grows. The loose organization of people decides to be strategic in planning and sets standards for how they will operate.

4. A Monument – is ultimately formed as people begin to expect certain behaviors/services from the machine. Unfortunately, machines break. Many times (if leadership is not careful and intentional) the maintenance of the machine begins to take precedence over the original mission. Financial resources which originally were intended for the mission are spent to support the machine. (85% of the average church budget is spent inwardly.)

In Trey’s description, he also said that the man who shared these ideas with him made it his goal to never become a machine. A movement of many men on mission can become a revolution, but a machine. . . .

These are ideas worth passing along.What do you guys think?

Changing a Culture

09-01-22-icebergSome of the church leadership people met with Dave Herman, (our “Transformation Coach”) this morning and I created a few diagrams to help explain some of the things he shared. Although we talked about quite a few other topics, most of the conversations centered on changing a culture.

I think it’s important to first define culture. For the purpose of this conversation, we are not talking about the culture at large but rather “organizational culture” and specifically our own church (Lake Jackson FUMC) culture. In my “Christian Leadership” classes at CBS, we learned that organizational culture is defined as “that which is assumed.” People assume things to be a certain way because a culture has told them so. Assumptions are made based upon the way things have always been done within the culture of that particular organization. Culture is an understood (and mostly agreed upon) set of rules by which everyone plays within that organization. Culture was also described like an iceberg. The way an organization does things (what is seen) helps us understand it’s culture, but there’s usually a lot more under the surface. You can change what is seen, (like core values or mission statements) but without changing the cultural support, nothing will really be different. The look may change, but the direction and momentum remains fixed because culture carries so much weight.

Anyway, here’s the first diagram:

01 Changing a Culture

The congregation is represented by the blue line and the leadership by the green.


Church/organizational culture is portrayed by the purple wave which flows in and out of it’s members as a story. The church culture is very difficult to define (a wave) because it is ever-changing and organic in nature. Culture is created, reorganized, and understood by the average member throughout their lives. When they hear stories of things going on in the church or are reminded of memories of the “good ol’ days,” they instinctively define the church by those stories. Although it changes often, the church culture is mostly defined by who the people are, and what they’ve done in the past. This results in a status quo or good ol’ days mentality. Some of the members, are also leaders. They may not hold positions, but they have influence and others hear their stories with greater appreciation.


03 Changing a Culture

The leadership of the church is called by God to direct, empower, and equip it’s members to live out the story of God rather than the story of the status quo. They should be mostly concerned about the future of the church and should speak a new story into the lives of it’s congregation. A story which represents the calling they believe God has placed upon them collectively. The red wave represents this “God story.” It’s also important for this story (vision) to be clear, concise, and compelling. (not like a wave)

I should be clear to say that the purple wave may very well be Godly too, but it is fluid in nature and much less defined. Setting a church on a specific course requires strategy which calls for definition and focus.


05 Changing a Culture
Too many church leadership teams function the wrong way. They call members to join them. Yet, in the servant leader model, the leaders are called to serve their members – step out of their positions to work alongside them. In doing so, they build relationships which allow them to gain influence. Once that influence/relationship is built, the leader can tell the new story and begin to have an impact on the culture from the ground up. A leader serves. That means culture is formed as leaders kneel.

06 Changing a Culture

As those relationships grow, the members, become leaders/interpreters/proponents of the new story which they have seen lived out in their leaders. Pretty soon, enough members have become a part of the new story that the church culture approaches a tipping point. Then the culture truly begins to be shaped by the new story/vision as it ripples through the congregation. Unfortunately, there will always be a few people who will never join the new story. When the whole culture changes around them, they find themselves trapped. Some will leave the organization. Others will just go into hiding, hoping that the new story will fail so they can come out and say “I told you so.” Some will just live out the rest of their lives in bitterness – always trying to regain their personal story. The good news is that God’s story has room for everyone! Some (the disciples) will choose to follow while others (the Rich Young Ruler) will hold on to their own and miss out on God’s best.


I’m excited to be a part of a new story here at Lake Jackson FUMC. I pray that I can be one of those green X’s who will serve this church family by humbly telling a new story and seeking to love in such a way that the culture, community, and my friends will know Jesus more.

Just a final note of thanks to Dave Herman. This is very insightful information, which will benefit us greatly as we seek to be a part of God’s work in the transformation of His church. I also want to apologize if I have misrepresented him in any way. The explanations are a combination of his words and my own thoughts. Dave, if you’re reading this, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Did I get it mostly right?