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Town Hall Meeting Facilitation

When there is a big decision to be made within the church or ministry organization that needs to be made and there must be wide spread buy in, what methodology should be employed to achieve success?

A Critical Mass Event is an event that brings a Critical Mass of the organization’s body or members together and in a highly structured way to make a critical or strategic decision. The title Future Search is also used in the context in that the organization is actually searching for its future.

The Critical Mass Event Also Called Future Search

The purpose of the event is to practice High Involvement principles by involving more people in the design of the association’s future.

If the association makes change or designs its future in such a way that has low stakeholder involvement what happens:

• Trust in the leadership slips

• People feel resentful

• Problems with communication will increase

• Polarization will occur between those who want to rush forward and those who want to go back to the old ways

•  Systems in flux will be unreliable

• Consensus breaks down, teamwork is undermined, level of discord rises

• Tasks will go undone

• Organizational energy is drained

The management premise: Healthy people have to have a say; unhealthy people have to have their way.

What is it?

A high speed, high involvement way to redesign organizational structures and processes.

• It is high speed because it takes 2 to 3 months to agree on a plan to go forward and 12 months to complete the plan;

• It is high involvement because it involves a critical mass of the organization to complete—huge buy in

Examples where this methodology could be effective:

At the XYZ Community Church the faithful had elected to have a second collection dedicated to debt reduction. They had been structured and faithful for seven years. They are now within $10,000 to retire their mortgage. The Senior Pastor wants to continue with the second collection to build a fund balance for future facilities construction. The junior pastors felt that the congregation needed a break from additional tithing and were urging the elimination of the second collection for at least a year. LMAG was brought in, and facilitated a Town hall meeting (a Critical Mass Event). The congregation decided through this process, to continue the second collection. The decision was made, the buy-in was wide spread, the second collection continued.

The ABC Church was growing and growing and outgrowing its facilities. The owner of a parcel of land across town, made it known that he would donate the property to the denomination if A new church was to be built. Should a new church be built? That would split the congregation. Should the existing Church be expanded to accommodate the growth and keep it growing? LMAG was brought in to facilitate A town hall meeting where the decision was made to accept the gift of the property and building a church. The decision was made, the buy in was spread, in the new church was built.

The world headquarters of a worldwide Church organization was located in (City and State). The Chief Financial Officer was very astute and noticed that revenues from the various churches in this denomination were diminishing. Tithing to the World Headquarters was totally voluntary and the thought of putting the word out (making a cash call) that the World Headquarters needed more money was repugnant to the Church's leadership. LMAG was called in and determined that the problem was that the World HQ was not providing enough value and what amounted to customer service. A Critical Mass Event was scheduled and the method produced the solution for the World HQ’s problem. The various churches actually advised the services that they perceived as valuable. When the organization began providing services tithing went up and money was available.