Ecological Systems and Our Mission for God.
You might not think it's pertinent to your corner of the world, but stay with me just a second. An ecological understanding of the people around you will shed light on their behavior and tendencies.
I encountered Bronfenbrenner's Ecological System's model for the first time this past month in a class called "Exploring the Missional Church." I've looked at other systems in the past (my favorite up to now was Duvall's Family Life Cycle) but Bronfenbrenner's model is the most elegant and inclusive of all aspects of life. Most importantly, it's not linear. The Ecological system takes a holistic approach and accounts for movement in all directions.
- When you move to a certain neighborhood because of a school district, you're thinking ecologically.
- When your job prevents you from having a healthy diet you're being affected ecologically.
- When your divorce changes the group of friends you hang out with, that's ecological.
Click here for a Black & White Ecological Model
Click here for a Color model, but note that I think it is posted without permission-- and at a Christian college, too!
Here are some thoughts to consider from a ministry perspective:
- For a child, how might a parent's work environment (Exosystem) impact the child's involvement in church (Microsystem)?
- For a new believer (Individual), how will a commitment to Christ bring change to his/her Peers or Family (Microsystem)?
- Who influences whom? How do Christians (Individuals) influence their Social Condition (Macrosystem)? How do Economics (Macrosystem) influence our Classrooms or Kitchens (Microsystem)?
- How might History (Macrosystem) touch the demographics of our congregations (Microsystem)?