In 2002, I was exposed to something called Chaos Theory. It is also called Complex Adaptive Systems Theory, and is born out of Physics (quantum mechanics, etc.). It is the world of the physics of Einstein.
It turns out that this systems theory is evident in a lot of our world. From the stock market to organizational change, CAS is prevelant in the fabric and DNA of our world. It is the science of post-modernity, of dramatic change.
In 2002, I was able to compare and contrast this systems theory with Diffusions of Innovations. DoI is a social theory best expressed by Everett M. Rogers in his book Diffusion of Innovations. It was a facinating exercise that led me deeper into research on Chaos Theory, a journey that I am still on. In the midst of this, I decided to put together a paper, a small book, that I called Chaos in the Church, and I self-published it through Lulu.com. (I greatly recommend this site to you if you want to do something like this.)
The gist of the book was a theoretical look at how to think about church structure and culture through Chaos Theory and provide a theoretical framework for moving into that direction.
Why bring all that up? Well, first to pimp the paper (though it needs some grammatical work – I should have let my wife mark it up before I actually published it) which I will provide you in a PDF if you want to print it out as it is only 38 pages. Just contact me and I’ll git-r-done to the first 15 of you.
However, even more so, to recommend Alan Roxburgh’s new book, “The Missional Leader“, which is the application of Chaos Theory, or Complex Adaptive Systems, into the structural and cultural aspects of the church. It is the practical to my theoretical. Thanks Steve McCoy for talking about Roxburgh’s book, that’s the reason I bought it last week.
I can’t put it down, I can’t wait to tweak what we’ve done here in Delaware and can’t pray soon enough through some of what he discusses. I don’t agree with everything so far, but there is some really good stuff here. Get it and read it. I’ll have more of my thoughts on it after I finish reading it.