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Good Complexity vs. Bad Complexity

Skye Jethani writes, in Immeasurable, about good versus bad complexity in ministry. He illustrates it this way:

Bad complexity is like a Rube Goldberg machine. Those are the massive, jerry-rigged contraptions that fill an entire room with moving ropes, ramps, bowling balls, and buckets. One small motion, like a marble rolling or a domino tipping, begins a long and complicated chain reaction. A Rube Goldberg machine is a huge, inflexible apparatus that accomplishes one simple task. It’s not very useful, but it can be immensely entertaining.

Good complexity, in contrast, is like a Swiss Army knife—an elegant, nimble instrument that can accomplish an impressive number of tasks. No one would say Swiss Army knives are simple. They are intricate, with many precisely engineered parts, but this complexity of design paradoxically makes them adaptable and easy to use.

Many churches are marked by bad complexity. They are like Rube Goldberg machines—not very effective, but very entertaining to watch. They construct massive systems of control that are far larger than what is required for the task, and they are dangerously fragile. If one element of the system or environment changes, the weakness of the whole church or organization is exposed.

Possible Preaching Angle:

This could be used as illustration of the difference between strong and weak, healthy and unhealthy, complex yet meaningful church organizations and ministries.

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