Einstein and Insanity

Apologies to those outside the Sydney Anglican World. Last night was the presentation and passing of the Sydney Anglican Diocese budget for the next 3 years (a total of some $6m of income).

Please contribute to our survey to see where the Diocese sits on the church lifececyle model

I dedicate this post to reproducing the notes that formed the basis of my speech:

I am speaking this evening to give voice to what many people feel as a matter of principle. It would not be right for nothing to be said. We are here to reach our city and beyond. That’s foundational to our Diocesan mission.

Last year, in our capacity of members of the Strategy and Research group, Bishop Peter Lin and I were charged with the responsibility of providing a Mission update to this house. It was hard work both to grapple with and to present –  almost all of our mission indicators have declined. Our attendances have flatlined …. Certainly we are not keeping up with population growth.

EinsteinDo you remember Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity? It is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. That is the context of the budget to which we come to tonight. It is a significant budget, for this year there is a $611,000 increase in available funds. Yes, a $611,000 increase (see page 344 of the Synod books). And we need to be the best stewards that we can be. But, in the words of [the mover], the budget before us is a “status quo” budget.

We have not had an increase of that magnitude for a long time. And we are not likely to again for many, many years to come.

Yes, process is important. But one can’t help but feel we have lost an opportunity to at-least try some new things, and atleast try to break the Einstein dynamic, with God’s help.

Thank you to those who have done work on this. I know it takes time and energy and work. That said, whatever the process has been, we need a better process. We now have a “status-quo” budget that locks us in for three years, at a time when we know we all know that need to be more agile.

sydney

We love talking about mission. We love talking about evangelism. We love talkingabout reaching Sydney. As someone said in this house a number of years ago, we would practically do the harka for mission. But this budget, despite a whopping 600k increase in income, has no new missional initiatives.

I am not proposing amendments – that has other issues. But we need to do better, and this synod needs to hear what many are saying so that we can do better.

  • Let’s do better at least try to break the Einstein cycle.
  • Let’s do better at trying new things – even when there are no guarantees
  • Let’s do better at being able to be agile.
  • Let’s stop just talking about mission and evangelism.
  • And let’s do better at putting our money – no, God’s money – where our mouth is.

I suspect that we may return to some of these issues when the current survey is complete. Contribute here.

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