The Starfish and the Spirit
Leveraging the metaphor Ori popularized in his NYT best-selling book, The Starfish and the Spider, Ori Brafman shows why the distributed structures of starfish organizations are uniquely fit to the church. They can function without a rigid central authority, and their regenerative abilities make them nimbler in reacting to external forces. Seeding starfish networks inside todays churches will prepare the church of tomorrow to be agile while still maintaining the necessary accountability to be effective.
Rather than advocating the adoption of a starfish structure in place of the hierarchy of the spider, Brafman, along with pastors Lance Ford and Rob Wegner, emphasize the advantages of adapting the structure and order inherent in a spider organization toward a hybrid model--either a Spiderfish approach (leaning toward centralization) or a Starder approach (leaning toward decentralization).
The Starfish and the Spirit is about creating a culture where church leaders view themselves as curators of a community on mission, not the source of certainty for every question and project. It is about creating a team of humble leaders "in the middle" of the church, not at the top--leaders who naturally reproduce multiple generations of leaders, from the middle out on mission. Imagine a church led by a team whose gifts and talents are completely unleashed, enabling everyone to show up and step up with all they really are. The joy and vigor coming from the collective strength, intelligence, and skill in the community of leaders not only brings greater potency but better yields for your ministry as well. What would it be like to see this kind of healthy leadership reproduced into the second, third, and fourth generation, on multiple strands?
About the Authors
Rob Wegner leads the Kansas City Underground, a decentralized network of reproducing disciples and microchurches in Kanas City, Missouri. Previously, he served as teaching pastor at Granger Community Church in Granger, Indiana and at Westside Family Church in Kansas City. Rob also serves on the leadership team of NewThing and on the Exponential Network Team, leading learning communities and speaking at national church conferences.
Alan Hirsch is an award-winning author on various aspects of missional Christianity and co-founder of Future Travelers, an intentional learning journey for contemporary churches seeking to transition to becoming authentic movements