I regularly get phone calls from representatives of this agency or that, wanting an “audience” with me. They sort of figure I’m “in charge” – the CEO, or Grand Poobaa of the Water Buffalo Lodge, or something… They think I can snap my fingers, and the church will jump and pour money or other resources in their general direction.
I also regularly hear about management seminars to improve church efficiency and effectiveness with visioning, strategic planning, and the like.
I had someone ask me if we were employing the Carver Model of governance.
I hear more stuff that makes me wonder sometimes – “Are we running a business, or some organization…. or are we a church?
I get that any gathering of people needs, at some level to be organized. Any group that hangs around enough, including a family, needs some set of expectations and structure to function well. I’ve been around enough to get all that.
But I do worry when such talk begins to bubble to the surface a little too regularly. I become uncomfortable because it makes me wonder if it is a symptom of a Church that is, in Canada today, losing a bit of touch with what we’re really all about.
Which is, I firmly believe, NOT about running a slick and efficient operation. Rather – it is about a community that lives the Jesus-following life together. And sometimes living happens in smooth, organized ways. But often not. And the smoothness, the structure, and the like is NOT the focus.
Check out the last section of any of the epistles (the letters to the newly minted churches in the New Testament era). They are all the “how-to” sections. Never – not once – is there stuff about how to run certain programs, or how to structure organizational hierarchy, or what kind of building is best. Never. Not once. What you do see is encouragement towards a very particular lifestyle; a lifestyle centered on the person of Jesus, and structured according to the principles of how the Creator truly desires his beautiful World to live. The Church is the community that births, nurtures and mentors believers towards mature, active faith. She is the womb of faith, mother of believers, Body of Jesus. She is living, organic – not some institution.
What’s Church all about?
- We provide safe space for people beat up by life… or others.
- We provide coaching and mentoring and teaching to counter the often deceptively harmful influences of the world, and to guide people in living authentic Jesus-following lives, growing in their relationship with him.
- We foster relationships that encourage and support.
- Together we serve in ways that as individuals we simply couldn’t accomplish.
- And…..we WORSHIP.
We take time each week to stop whatever it is we’re doing and we deliberately focus our time and energy and passion on the Triune God that made us, rescued us, and now dwells within us... Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We worship, we live.
And so I’m wondering a little about…
Do we focus here on relationships instead of rules?
How about people before policy?
How about mentoring before membership?
How about hospitality before hierarchy?
Is there more concern on keeping the organization and institution of KCRC functioning, smoothly preferably? Or on investing in lives of people that God brings here, that they connect more deeply with Jesus and begin to reflect the heart of Jesus; living out of the security and wonder of the Divine Embrace of their Saviour in ever-more confident, visible ways; sharing, in growing ways, His passion to rescue and redeem the World?
Do we wonder more about how well our various groups and ministries stick to church policy, or about who the Lord will bring through our doors that may partner with us in the walk towards being the loving presence of Christ in our community?
Do we fret about perpetuating programs? Or spend energy in prayer about disciples being born and nurtured; about people being able to see Jesus reflected in us?
What do you think?