Aurora Advent Christian Church, located just outside of Chicago, was stuck. The church was dynamic in many ways. The leaders were talented and highly motivated, but as a unit, something was wrong.
The first things I noticed were the signs—in the office, in the gymnasium, on the doors to the bathroom. The place was plastered with "do not's."
- Do not bounce balls on the wall.
- Do not wear black-soled shoes.
- Do not leave the lights on.
- Do not sit here.
Each notice was signed: "The Trustees."
The meetings I attended were formal, focused on procedure and rules. Yet everyone seemed so friendly, warm, and passionate about ministry. When I took a direct, left-brain approach and told leaders they were overly focused on the business of the church, it did not go well.
On a return visit, I focused on trying to understand the church's code. I took a more intuitive, right-brain approach. In focus groups, I asked people to go back as far as they could in memory and recall first or powerful experiences with ...1