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13 Responses to “Are We Very Shrewd? (Part 2)”

  1. David Naugle says:

    You , Tom & I have all under gone major league paradigm shifts – t b t G.

  2. Bob Robinson says:

    Tom Nelson’s book is a true Godsend.

  3. Trent McEntyre says:

    Mike, I appreciate this candid piece.

    I have been “whittling rotten wood” for quite a while. When I ask myself, “why?”, I realize my own insecurities are a big part of it.

    What you proved is that change requires us to suffer. We won’t likely sustain faithful presence while suffering if we are not compelled by a stronger hope.

  4. marble says:

    . . . and what of those who’ve gotten canned? Do they stay in No Man’s Land forever, shot at by both the religious establishment and the Babylonians? Waiting. . . .

    Looking forward to the next chapter, to see how the good vs. bad wood conflict plays out – and what happens to the whittler.

  5. Doug Reynolds says:

    Thanks Mike. Good post. Clayton Christian, Harvard MBA prof, understood this in his book Innovators Dilemma as well. You must create new entities in order to foster true innovation and sustain it over time. The DNA in those organizations are just too different than the older organizations’.

  6. Mike Metzger says:

    I am not being simplistic when I say that those who were canned have an opportunity to align more closely with how reality actually works as well as how human nature operates. I’m not saying it’s easy to make this switch, and you’ll likely lose a few friends in the transition who view the switch as being disloyal to the status quo – but I am saying it can be done and there is no need for staying in No Man’s Land.

  7. Carl Creasman says:

    Amen on the rotten wood. Early in my efforts with Numinous (, God’s word to me relative to trying my ideas with established churches to being akin to putting new wine in old wineskins. I realize there are many other aspects to this point by Jesus, but for myself, I felt God saying that the old wineskins should not just arbitrarily be destroyed and if I tried to force new wine into them, that is what I would be doing. So, instead, we created a model of a unique take on disruption, to use your terms, Mike.

    And I agree with your last statement in your #6 note above—it can be done. But, as you are hinting, it is done with a cost. Make no mistake….in Babylon, you are in exile. There will still be many religious leaders in each city who believe they are still in Jerusalem and will reject you, ignore you or even mock you. Disruption is not desired by these leaders. And, often, you find that even trying to reach to others is tough because the average Christian is NOT looking for your church—its tough being a believer in Babylon.

  8. Brent says:

    Jim Collin’s latest book, Great by Choice, found that the truly great companies weren’t more innovative than the competion- they simply leveraged their innovation and coupled it with fanatic discipline. They knew when to innovate and when to sustain existing momentum.

    What could this mean for the Church? Is part of discerning the times,knowing when to innovate (stop whittling rotten wood) and when to press forward with what’s working?

  9. Mike Metzger says:

    Brent: Yes, you press forward when you are assured that what you are doing is effective. It largely depends on how you define “what’s working,” and that depends on what you measure and how you define success. In the Babylonian exile, the Jews were told that their flourishing was linked to the Babylonians flourishing. Success therefore (or what is “working”) has to be linked to the flourishing of your city’s institutions. How’s that working in your church?

  10. Bailey Marks says:

    Mike, thanks again for the humility in the last few blogs. As one who is committed to change, is around a lot of rotten wood, has not yet been fired and has not saluted and returned to the fold, what is your current thinking on change. Is a skunk works the preferred vehicle for healthy disruption. For your encouragement, we are seeing glimmers of hope and change in a big organization. Thanks again.

  11. Bailey Marks says:

    Sorry. Those were questions and should be punctuated like this: “?”.

  12. Mike Metzger says:

    Bailey: Good to hear. Yes, a properly run skunk works is the best proven model. There have been over 1,000 skunk works in business, producing the mouse, for example.

  13. Aaron Sands says:

    Each week look forward to reading your articles – thank you for sharing! In the first post you drew parallels to the exiles of Israel and the state of the church today, particularly in highly individualistic and consumerist America. In considering those parallels, how do you think the life, death and resurrection of Christ makes a difference? Is our shrewdness shaped differently since we have the benefit of looking back to the finished work of Christ and looking forward to the return of Christ and fulfillment of God’s kingdom? Does the Gospel reality help us understand the rotten wood and time aspects differently? Just some questions I’ve been pondering and wanted to share.

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