Self-managed flourishing communities

Self-managed flourishing communities

“It’s a job only we can only do for ourselves”

Unless you have not been on a plane for the past 20 years, you will know that watching the in-flight demonstration is part of the routine of flying.  However, at no point in any such demonstration have I ever seen anyone put up a hand to ask a question or ask for anything to be repeated. Why? Two reasons: firstly, we think it will never happen to us. Secondly if it does happen, there is very little that anyone else can do for us. We are the ones that need to take control for ourselves. It’s a job that we can only do for ourselves.

Looking after our health is the same. Someone else cannot eat for us, exercise for us or breathe for us. We are solely responsible. I consider the same has to go when it comes to looking after the safety and health of our organization.

It is the people who work in our communities who can best look after their own health and safety, not a compliance function.

We don’t need more auditors, monitors and people in a compliance department. Arguably, what we need are self-managing teams, with diverse skills that help build a culture of compliance to enable communities to flourish. I am not advocating risk and audit functions within communities but a far more useful range of skills, such as:

  • Coaches to support teams to achieve their objectives
  • Project managers to help plan and keep people on track
  • Creators to create materials that can be used to communicate messages, share best practices, guide people and answer questions
  • Champions to encourage disciples and spread messages
  • Filmmakers to make stories we can share
  • Researchers to investigate new areas and collate and condense their findings.
  • Educators to explain things in a way that is palatable and can be understood

Now let’s turn to the bigger picture – literally. For this, I’m going to look at animation.  Animation is magic to me. It literally means bringing something to life. I believe that’s what we are all here to do: create and bring to life our ideas, our vision and, ultimately, live whatever mission it is that we were brought here to do.

My own personal assignment right now is a large one — bringing people together to create flourishing communities in order that we can change the world.

However, I don’t intend to do this alone. Indeed, if this were a solo mission it would be an impossible one. Luckily, there are thousands of people within the Church who I believe could share their talents in making this mission possible.

If you have ever been to a Walt Disney exhibition showing how animation is made, you will know that although technology has changed, the actual process has not. You need ideas people, script writers, storyboard creators, people who specialize in the drawing outlines, others who add colour, others who add texture, others who do the lighting, others who specialize in moving the camera, others who specialize in sound, music… The list is endless.

It takes a team of specialists to make one scene that may last just an eighth of a second. However, that one scene, when added with hundreds of thousands more, changes people’s life. Whether it be an animation, a film, a book, a piece of art or a piece of music, it has the capacity to move people and create emotion. This creation of emotion has a flow on effect into our everyday lives. If we are truly moved by something we remember it and draw upon it, regardless of time. Whether it is a scene from a film, a piece of art or a passage from a book, if you are like me, you may just remember something you saw or read 20 years ago more vividly than you can remember the last report you read.

We need to bring together the right talents and skills to work together regardless of distance or location. The importance is what we can do, rather than where we live.

However, and this is the important part. In order to truly create flourishing communities we need to be able to help each other to do this. The Uniting Church was not created in a linear fashion. There are a variety of people with a variety of talents facing a variety of challenges with a variety of hopes and dreams in a variety of locations with a variety of resources. None of this is a problem. But recognizing this reality, means recognizing a new approach to team work. It may mean working remotely with other people to form one team. It may mean that one community that has a duplication of skills will share people within their community to work with a team or people in other communities.

Imagine a Church utilizing the wealth of diverse skills within it, that are grouped together in teams across communities to help one another to create flourishing, healthy and safe communities!

Over to you

I’d love your feedback. What role do you see yourself doing? What roles do you think we need within our Church? What scene would you like to be a part of creating? I have prepared a really short survey for people to let us know. If you have a spare 5 minutes, we’d love to hear form you. You can access it here.

Nicole Rose
Head of Compliance and Legal,




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