New Series: Starfish and Spider Churches

Wednesdays are becoming Weekly Wednesdays, where I'll post one of a series of posts that all connect or are around a certain theme. In May, the theme was "What the Church can Learn from Wikipedia" and it was well-received.

Starting a week from today, the last four Wednesdays in June will be on a book: The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations by Brafman and Beckstrom

As a teaser, there's one trait that both Spiders and Starfish share: they both have many legs. Starfish have five, spiders have eight. If we found two similarly colored and textured spiders and starfish, at first glance, they may look similar, right?

  • Think of what happens when you cut off the head of a will die. There is nothing to run the rest of the legs, so the Spider dies.
  • But what about a Starfish? There is no head, the central nervous system is spread throughout the body. Indeed, if you cut off a limb, it will regrow. If you chop it in half...both will regrow, and then you'll have two of them!
Over the next month, we'll look at the characteristics of churches and see how they fit into the two categories above: Spider Churches and Starfish Churches
  • In our denomination, most of our Churches are Spider Churches: they have a hierarchy, they are leader-driven, they are bureaucratic and inefficient, slow to change...and yet they sustain movements and structure accountability in ways that are helpful.
  • However, there is potential for change into Starfish Churches: leaderless movements that are people-driven, adaptive, and rely on relationships for authenticity. In short, the kind of churches that are empowered here at
If you want to better converse with me for this series, pick up a copy of The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations online or at your local library.

And come back every Wednesday in June for conversation!


blake June 4, 2008 at 7:05 AM  

that's it. i'm gonna have to read the book. it keeps coming up everywhere.

looking forward to the series. also, if you're interested, ori brafman was interviewed recently on the nick and josh podcast.

Stresspenguin June 5, 2008 at 8:21 AM  

You should check out Methoblogger Richard Heyduck. He did three pretty good posts on this book at Bandits No More.

Rev. Jeremy Smith June 5, 2008 at 11:06 AM  

@ Kurt, great, thanks for the note! I'll certainly read Richard's posts for further insights and reference.

Welcome to the blog, by the way!

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