Which camp are you in? Camp Evolution or Camp Revolution?


Last week, I wrote a post about how to support someone leading a revolution. This post was written at the very beginning of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and mere hours before the simmering anger in Ferguson, MO turned into a full blown fire. These two topics may seem to have little in common, but both inspired a fury of commentary on the role of the individual in impacting change.

You’d think all “do gooders” would get along. We have one important thing that unites us – we all want to do good deeds and serve the world we live in. But for most issues we unknowingly separate ourselves into two distinct camps with opposing views on what doing good truly looks like. And that’s where the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and Ferguson, MO brought our differences to the surface. All week my Facebook feed was filled with conversations bordering arguments from some of the most amazing and compassionate servers I know. Which camp are you arguing for – Evolutionary Servers or Revolutionary Servers?

Camp Evolution

The definition of evolution I’m using

The gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.

How Evolutionary Servers affect change

Evolutionary Servers work within the current system to make gradual improvements. They take a pragmatic approach to meeting the needs of today first, but also plan for the needs of the future.

Why they’re needed

  • Evolutionary Servers meet people where they are. They often figure out how to get a broader audience more engaged even if they aren’t fully committed yet. They open the door to dialogue usually in a non-confrontational manner.
    • An example from this week: ALS is a horrific disease that is grossly underexposed and underfunded. So Evolutionary Servers don’t mind using tactics like a somewhat trivial Ice Bucket Challenge to raise immediate funds and awareness. They are not overly concerned that the funding is coming from less committed donors. They are not overly bothered by the fact that the funding level will not likely return again. They are successfully serving in the here and now. And right here and right now they have raised a lot of money and are bringing in a major victory for a cause that desperately deserves it.
  • Evolutionary Servers are trusted and respected by the masses. Their efforts though slower to bring about large scale change prepare the world for the right time to support a revolution.

Why they often clash with Revolutionary Servers

  • Evolutionary Servers sometimes feel attacked by their revolutionary counterparts. They want to stand with them but don’t appreciate being judged when they don’t push the envelope as far (or as fast) as Revolutionary Servers want to see it go. They view Revolutionary Servers as preachy, judgmental and at times unrealistic.
    • An example from this week: Evolutionary Servers found themselves “called out” for not speaking out against injustice. Many wanted to withhold comment until the facts surrounding Michael Brown’s death were more concrete and tensions in Ferguson had reached more manageable levels.
  • Emotionally, Evolutionary Servers have spent a great deal of energy improving a current system. Having that system completely changed by Revolutionary Servers could appear to invalidate their efforts.

Camp Revolution

The definition of revolution I’m using

An overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system.

How Revolutionary Servers affect change

Revolutionary Servers work to overhaul a current system in favor of a brand new system. They believe the current system is broken. They work within the old system to support immediate needs, but their main goal is to overthrow the old unjust or ineffective system in favor of a new one.

Why they’re needed

  • Revolutionary Servers are the people that provide new opportunities for a better world beyond what we can currently imagine.
    • An example from this week: To a Revolutionary Server the Ferguson case is an electrifying catalyst to address more than just the actions of a single police officer. It is an opportunity to engage individuals and institutions in an action-focused campaign for massive change. Revolutionary Servers stand ready to push the catalyst for revolution into systematic change. And they are not shy about forcing discussion and action.
  • Revolutionary Servers are the people that make the masses uncomfortable. They push people out of their comfort zones and make individuals they touch better for it.

Why they often clash with Evolutionary Servers

  • Revolutionary Servers sometimes see Evolutionary Servers as a hindrance to systematic change. Because Evolutionary Servers work within the current system their successes help give the appearance that the need for massive overhaul is less acute.
    • An example from this week: This is where the Ice Bucket Challenge caused so much tension. It is a win for ALS funding and the researchers that need that money right this second. But it is a potential loss for anyone that wants to see the current system of “disengaged giving to charity” replaced with a new system of “committed partnerships for change”. Revolutionary Servers see a win for the old system as a setback in the movement towards the new system. And the Ice Bucket Challenge was a BIG win for the old system.

Are both camps needed?

Could the camps work better together?

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Please post them via social media or in the comments below.

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