The Organized Organism

              The church you serve is an organization. Evidence of this includes budgets, flow charts, roles, groups, methods, power bills, coffee, etc. You may be part of one of those really cool anti-organizational, we just follow the Wind groups. You still are an organization. Just run out of coffee and you’ll see. Someone will have to get some more. Someone will pay for it. Organization, every church is one.

                The church you serve is an organism. It is Voice, Angel, Myth, and Person. The church grieves, works, sins, celebrates, prays, seeks, longs, regrets, hopes – as one. The church is alive.

                The organism and organization are interactive yet distinct. The church’s organizational structure is designed to serve the values and mission of the breathing organism. The organization can get crossways with the organism. The organism can be ignored, thinking that the organization is the seat of life. This gets everything mixed up. This is idolatry. There are lots of proper organizational structures for churches. Organisms are very similar. Organisms all need the same food for life.

                I have been part of two interviews over the last two months that illustrate this. Ron Cook, Jamie McCallum and I spoke with Roger Fredrikson and David Fisher. These two men have both had fruitful ministries. They both love pastoral ministry and have written about aspects of it for others. They were both extremely gracious and insightful. I doubt if either of them would have been successful in the other one’s context.  Their approach to church organization is different. The commonality between this is seen in the life of the organism. They both love God and maintain friendships. They are aware of their own need for grace and pursue the Spirit. They prayer for the health of the organism and labored for a functional organization. They reminded me that a healthy spirituality is the most important aspect of pastoral ministry. Organic functioning must precede thoughtful organization.

                Young congregational leaders are wise to note the value of both the organization and organism. We should care about organizational needs and work for wise and efficient methods and structures.  . We should lay down our lives for the organism.   I thought I’d scribble this down so that I wouldn’t run away.



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