Continued from the prior post.

Fox News did a piece about a couple spiders that were sent into space. They wanted to see what kind of web a spider would weave in zero gravity. The result was pretty sad. The spider certainly built a web, but it looked more like a wad of string than anything we were used to seeing from that species of spider. Then a few days later a follow-up piece was done to exclaim that the spider eventually learned how to weave a standard spider web. It was clean, with radiating “spokes” emanating from the center and eventually attaching to other objects. The spider strung intermediate “rings” around the center – several of them. The spider was happily sitting in the middle waiting for a meal to fly into its trap.

For some reason I was intrigued by this spider tale. First, it seemed as if the spider was in turmoil and discombobulated. But eventually its masterpiece was spun. Structurally I saw all kinds of hope for my “model” problem. The sweet-spot in the center could be God. The first ring could be vision (emanating from God). Then the next ring would be the ministry team. Then the various activities connecting that vision to the people would be next. The next ring would then be the people of the local body. The open spaces outside the final ring would be the world to which we want our people to connect. OK, so far it is just a glorified concentric circle thing – but wait. Here is where it gets cool.

What about the radial “spokes”? They emanate from the center, and they touch every “ring”. Eventually, they make contact with something to which they are anchored. These are are lines of influence. They serve four functions. First, they anchor the entire web in real space. Second, they provide a framework for the rings to be supported. Third, by connecting the rings, the spider can sense when something lands on the web and get there efficiently.

Are you seeing the ministry implications here? As anchors, these spokes keep a ministry grounded. Each point of attachment reminds us of exactly why we minister. They represent families, friends, societal injustices, moral deficiencies, pain and suffering, joy and hope. Ministry must be connected to real life – it must be relevant – it must have an impact on the lives of people. As supporting structure, they serve as a conduit for ideas, feedback and encouragement to flow between the different rings, for staff to mentor people, for people to hold staff accountable, for people to give input to the activities and even the vision, and for the pulse of the church to be monitored. As a ministry team we must strive to maintain these radials. Not only do they serve to connect us to the people and thus become partners int he mission, but they also serve as very efficient pathways for God (who lives at the sweet-spot) to maintain a grip on us – keeping us true to HIS vision, and connected to one another as a family of believers.

The coolest thing is that webs are temporary. Spiders build them and tear them down all the time. Why? Because the must always work to ensure that they are sitting in the right places, attached to the right things, and serving their intended purpose – to catch bugs of course! So yeah, I’m liking this web thing so far.

One thought on “i.love.structures.part.3”

  1. This is a great analogy Herb. Christ always has to be in the sweet spot. As I read the part about the spider first failing than succeeding a few days later I began to think about the ability to adapt and change according to your environment. I know change is usually hard for people…it is for me in most cases, but I find that using this analogy and keeping Christ in the sweet spot makes change seem not so different…just enough different to make it successful in whatever the environment happens to be.

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