I know I already quoted from the book, but it’s a good one. Page 27:
Senator Bill Bradley defines a movement as having three elements:
- A narrative that tells a story about who we are and the future we’re trying to build
- A connection between and among the leader and the tribe
- Something to do–the fewer limits, the better
Too often organizations fail to do anything but the third.
Tribal leaders are able to envision a future and create a narrative to live into, by which others can one day arrive at the imagined future — or at least come nearer to it. As they pass on that narrative, others, perhaps their children, come even nearer. Narratives are important… we realize too little how much they already shape us. The fact is, most of us don’t even realize that we live according to an existing narrative.
Those in the tribe pursuing a new narrative begin to see this, and to reject the old narrative. Now, page 30:
Crowds and Tribes
Two different things:
A crowd is a tribe without a leader.
A crowd is a tribe without communication.
Most organizations spend their time marketing to the crowd. Smart organizations assemble the tribe.
Crowds are interesting, and they can create all sorts of worthwhile artifacts and market effects. But tribes are longer lasting and more effective.
Just one question. Is your church experience one of a crowd or a tribe?
Okay, one more. Does your pastor or leader give you a new narrative to live into?
Interesting stuff! A couple thoughts:
Story is absolutely critical, and it’s intriguing to me that two of the larger entertainment industries – videogames and films – strongly rely on narrative elements. We create tribal connections based on our favorite games/movies. We become virtually connected with anyone who holds that same visionary story and activities.
When I put my futurist hat on, it’s about analyzing cultural trends and interpreting the human impact of them, then transforming that research data into an emotionally-provocative, open-ended scenario that gets people speculating about what futures they could plausibly have, and discussing/discerning what future they would prefer to have.
Sadly, the seminaries I am most familiar with don’t even train their future leaders in systems yet, though they say they are all about leadership. If they don’t even do that, how much longer will it take until they see the critical importance of training ministers to serve in the stories that make their tribe heroic instead of being The Hero Leader themselves?
I’d also suggest that in the world as it is unfolding, it will no longer be enough to be a “vision caster.” That is helpful, but it is often abstract, vague, ethereal-idealism. Meanwhile, seems to me the trends are toward concrete, specific, and critical-realism. Which means we need holistic “vision carriers” who – as you said in summary of the Missional SynchroBlog – “Live your faith. Share your life.” That’s concrete. That creates an epic story where “witness” is interwoven. But if we reverse that [“Live your life. Share your faith.”], I think we end up with compartments where “witnessing” is activity in an episode instead of one of the ongoing themes in the epic.
And in the words of the film narrative of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, “And there you go.”