Still thinking about adaptive methods and church planting movements. You're probably sill wondering what they are and why we should be bothered with them.
Here's a few more examples to add to the five we already have.
Alcoholics Anonymous is an adaptive method. So is lectio divina, a simple pattern for reflecting on the Scriptures.
John Wesley's bands, classes, societies, circuit-riders were an interlocking system of adaptive methods. Paul Gupta and Chris Marantika turned their theological colleges into adaptive methods and are planting thousands of churches as a result.
Natural Church Development qualifies as an adaptive method.
Christain Swartz calls them "functional structures". Bob Logan talks about "reproducible systems". I thought about the term "organic means". But it sounded too much like a fertilizer, so I settled on "adaptive methods".
What are they?
1. Adpative methods are invisible Adaptive methods are the rules of the game. They're not the game itself. Adaptive methods get out of the way and let kingdom life and ministry happen.
2. Adpative methods are simple The simpler the more likely they'll spread. But doing the Ignatian Spiritual expercises is not "easy". Simple, but not easy.
Lectio divina works because after a while the pattern of reflection on the Scripture becomes second nature and you encounter God. God is the game.
3. Adpative methods are viral Nobody is organizing the phenominal growth of the internet. It's a virus. Sure, Apple "controls" the iPod phenomena, but does it? iPods are a virus. The Alpha course is a virus. Someone is responsible for Alpha. But they're not in control.
You can water it. You can fertilize it. You can weed it. You can watch it grow and multiply. But you're not in control of an adaptive method.
4. Adpative methods upset the bozos Someone once asked Neil Cole, "Aren't you concerned to have all these people meeting without supervision? What happens if they get out of control?"
Neil's response: "They're reading 30 chapters of Scripture a week. They're confessing their sins to one another and praying for each other. I hope they get out of control!"
Don't expect the bozos to enjoy adaptive methods.
5. Adpative methods are discovered by fools You can't engineer success with an adaptive method. You can try a lot of stuff and see what works. Even better, hang around the people who are trying a lot of stuff and steal what works.
But you won't learn a thing from them unless you're stupid. You have to be stupid and know it. Smart people already know the answers. They don't have anything to learn.
How important are adaptive methods?
They appear again and again as a one of the five characteristics of dynamic church planting movements. Only a bozo would ignore them.