The Non-Anxious Presence in Disrupted Homeostasis

Posted: March 24, 2009 in Church, Leadership, Relationships, vision

Last week I blogged about the principle of HOMEOSTASIS which is the property of any organization (institution, relationship, organism, etc.) to long for stability, balance, sameness, status quo, etc.  The irony in regards to church is that NO church does anything great for the Kingdom of God in a state of homeostasis.  So leaders need to be very discerning in when to live in homeostasis, and when to break out and disrupt the status quo to do something great for God.

Having said that, it is important to remember that according to system theorists, a disruption of homeostasis affects every part of the system.  Think of it like a mobile.  If you pull on one end, every part of the mobile is affected, especially the opposite side

In the disruption of homeostasis you can always expect a push-back or “pull down” to occur on the other end of the system.  The opposite end is attempting to exert its efforts to bring back homeostasis.  The problem:  it never does.  It overcompensates and overreacts sending the mobile flying to the other extreme.  And there it is…a mobile going back and forth, back and forth.  This is the dynamic at work in churches and results in conflict.  Something happens that disrupts homeostasis (this could be anything from painting the nursery  to the untimely death of a leader).  The mobile (church) goes flying to one extent.  To compensate, another force in the church (e.g., the senior saints, the women’s prayer group, the staff) pulls in the opposite direction trying to balance the mobile (church).  But it doesn’t get balanced.  It goes flying the other way.  Everyone is thrown off in regards to equilibrium, people are confused, they are anxious, they are worried, they are afraid.  And when people get anxious and afraid…they do stupid things.  Good godly people, when anxious and afraid, do bad things. 

In this moment what the entire system (church) needs is a leader who is a non-anxious presence.  Who stands at the crux of the mobile and without overreacting (which is very easy to do as a leader…especially one who is afraid and nervous) to speak truth (which includes acknowledging disrupted homeostasis), vision, and clarity of purpose.  It is a difficult task, but to make it through the disrupted homeostasis, YOU NEED TO HAVE the non-anxious presence of good leaders.

I want to give a shout out to the elders at LSC.  By personality they are pretty stoic anyhow.  🙂 But I’ve never seen a better non-anxious presence in the midst of disrupted homeostasis.  I can think back on our history when MAJOR DISRUPTIONS of homeostasis occurred.  Times when I was full of anxiety, fear, and concern.  They remained constant.  They spoke truth (“Did God call us to this or not?”).  They were a non-anxious presence in the midst of the storm.  And because of it, the storm came to an end. 

If a leader acts stressed, those who are following will feel stressed (even if in reality they aren’t under stress).  If a leader acts anxious and scared, those who are following will feel anxious and scared (at best).  If a leader is angry…he/she gets cut out of the Promise Land (or at least that is what happened to Moses).

So, may your homeostasis be disrupted for great Kingdom work.  But when it is, may the Spirit empower you with eyes to see what God is doing, and faith to be totally confident in Him, to the extent that it allows you to be a non-anxious presence.

  1. Lindsey says:

    Either this blog is so amazing that we are all still thinking of things to say, or you just hit so hard and so deep that we’re still speechless. 🙂

  2. or…probably both – amazing and deep!!!

  3. Memaw says:

    You know, Sam, God made Aaron spokesman for Moses and I’m glad He has made you our spokesman to keep us mindful of the church’s past, the blessings of the present and searching what the future can hold for it. God bless our gentle shepherds for their patience and guidance.

  4. linda says:

    okay then thanks

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