Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Strategies for Building One-Law Communities (Cajun Style)

Recently, a commenter who goes by the call sign "Cajun" answered the call for Hebrew Roots leadership to start developing elements to go into a long range strategic plan for the movement.  This is just Cajun's brainstorm, a rough outline of possible elements to include in a long range plan.  My hope is that you leaders out there will review it and add to it.  It's a discussion, not a final product.  Some of Cajun's points should be seen as ACTION ITEMS.  And we'll need someone to devise a PRIORITIZATION for such action items.  Above all, we need users to generate some content.

Without further ado...

Hebrew Roots Strategizing (Cajun style):

Strategy for the HR movement

1.        Identify what the end product should be. You can’t aim at what you can’t see. We must base our efforts on overarching vision rather than a collection of policies. The resulting narrative is easy to pitch to people who would otherwise be turned off by what they perceive as nit-picking bureaucracy. It has to be values based in order to appeal to the appropriate spirit and attract the right people. We want people to feel that they have found their “best selves” when they found us. Focusing on a broader vision also allows for unity in diversity. We find and focus on what unites us.

2.        At this point very few people see the need. Get those visionary people together to hammer out the key elements of the movement.

3.        Of those people, find the ones that have the best leadership skills. These are not the loudest or even the most knowledgeable. They are the ones who will maintain humility, make peace, and steadily work for the good of the many. Everything rises and falls on leadership. If we don’t have people of excellent character, we will not only create room for power plays but we will not have God’s blessing.

4.        Determine the elements necessary to produce such an institution.

5.        Start writing up and disseminating documents that set out the largest differences between the movement and cultural Christianity. Don’t focus so much on the points that divide us (i.e. Gentiles vs. Hebrew, Replacement etc). Focus on the advantages of the system and begin selling that to others.

6.        We need a solid, systematic but easily understood biblical underpinning. We also need to clearly define that which is shikul ha da’at and that which is devar mishnah.

7.        Determine which elements necessitate others and place them later in the scheme.

8.        Start formulating a hierarchical tactical plan.

9.        Begin meeting on a regular basis, doing research and bringing our results together in a type of accountability group. Be willing to set aside whatever projects don’t seem to be bringing results. Be willing to set aside whatever people cannot get along and be a part of the team.

10.        There will be opposition to what we are doing. There are always is to something new. We’ll need to have someone who is good at dealing with people, and is sufficiently quick witted to deal with some of the opposition. Each question that comes up should be prayed over, researched, formally answered and posted online so we don’t have to answer it again.

11.        As people begin joining we must deliberately look for potential leaders. It must be systematic and based on the movement’s culture and values. It cannot be based on a cult of personality or we will be quickly chained down with powerful but egoistic prima donnas.

12.        Start choosing and training leaders. They need to not only understand the theology, but also the culture and the leadership principles we espouse.

13.        Each small pearl of HR belief should be sought out and tied to the larger body.

14.        On the movement’s website we list groups with whom we cooperate and those who have joined completely. People like winners and this will help create the idea that we are not a few loners out on the fringe beating on pots and pans. We want them to see that we are actually a movement.

15.        A movement is largely built on relationship building. We need leaders who can do that. Those who cannot present their views in a tactful, gentle and winsome manner must be set aside for other, less public responsibility. We need to be willing to build peace first, invest in the relationships first, then connect with them on an organizational basis. You can’t build a relationship once the fight’s started. It must be built in the peaceful times so that it can endure the stress of disagreement. The relationships will endure even when the circumstances change. The years of honesty and openness will come in handy when one of ours jumps of the high board into sin and a messy scandal arrives. And it will arrive; it’s inevitable. We need to prepare for that eventuality by building strong, trusting relationships with those consider joining us.

16.        We need to develop tools that enable information gathering from many congregations and individuals. There should be built into the website online tools that subtly gather this information into a useful and accessible database.

17.        A key element to movement building is mobilization. We need to be able at some point to gather many people around a given cause so that they can see each other and take heart in that they are part of something larger than themselves.
a.        Symbolic activities (social gatherings, protests etc)

18.        Community organization will be critical. We need to be able to easily disseminate information, and get the right people or the right solutions to the right place on time.

19.        Ease of policy change. If things are too rigid, we will not be able to adjust on the fly as we scale up. So the constitution (which says WHO we are) may require more steps to change, but the bylaws (which describe HOW we do things) should be amenable to rapid change.

20.        We should tie the movement’s culture to positive and popular causes (i.e. environmental stewardship, human trafficking, hunger, disaster relief etc.) Not only is it psychologically sound, it is biblical! (Isaiah 58)

21.        Have clear geographical areas targeted and find leadership within each area. So we divide North America into large sections and seek a leader in each section. Then that section is divided and that leader is responsible to find other leaders in each of THOSE sections.

22.        This will require:
a.        sustained rather than episodic effort – we must be committed to a long haul. This might turn out to be a multi-generational effort. We need to be patient and we need to build for the ages. Protestant Evangelical Christianity didn’t get messed up overnight and we’re not going to adjust people’s views overnight either.
b.        multi-sector rather than special interest
c.        that we find wide-ranging applications rather than be  single issue driven
d.        focus on changing lives rather than changing appearances

23.        Everything rises and falls on good leadership but at some point we are going to have to have a solid constituency. If we are not impacting Joe and Jane Average then we’re just playing a game, aren’t we?

24.         We must make donations easy and our finances open, transparent, and accountable. There must be “balanced scales” so to speak.

25.        We need to develop an intellectual side where the practical ramifications and the philosophical underpinnings are explored. For instance, what are the Messianic views of aesthetics? Of humor? How do we respond to the multiplicity of bioethical challenges that face society? What fundamental rules determine what parts of the Bible we do and don’t apply in practical ways? If these kinds of things are not answered in a clear, lucid and unapologetically biblical manner then we will not last longer than the latest fad.

26.        We need practical, pragmatic applications of theology to workaday issues. How do we help the poor without the poor taking advantage or without enabling sin? How much help should be extended to prisoners who have simply a “jailhouse conversion”?

27.        Our leaders need to be planning several levels of growth ahead of where we currently are. They need to be able are ready to with plans to scale up as needed. What if the Ruach ha Kodesh sends us thousands daily as in the first century church? How do we care for all those people? The strategy must include tactics for quickly scaling up or down as needed.
We must reconcile ourselves to the truth that no one wins alone. We must be willing to have varying levels of connection and cooperation with other groups and movements depending on the level of biblical and social common ground we share. We need to systematically seek out and connect with allies. But we also have to know that we can’t serve with everyone equally. We need to have several levels of cooperation planned out so that we can plug anyone in somewhere (within reason, of course).


  1. Change the Name from HR to One Torah. HR give it a smell of a group of Gentiles. I am Jewish.

    1. For those readers who don't know, Dan is a sabra. : )

    2. "HR give it a smell of a group of Gentiles. I am Jewish."

      Does being a "sabra" somehow gives one the right to speak so disparagingly of others? This reminds me of how some politicians in the U.S. claim to supposedly look out for the rights of disadvantaged minorities, but in actuality view, speak of them and treat these minorities as helpless inferiors.

  2. I vote for One Torah as well and lets make Tim Hegg the Pope!

    1. I vote for making you the Pope...of sarcasm. : )

  3. Maybe we could eventually use the Google App Engine to develop a some project management software tailored to the needs of the Long Range Planning committee...just a random thought.