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Archive for the ‘Organization’ Category

What if Jesus called us to deconstruct? Would you participate?

I’ve wrestled with nature and emotions of deconstuction.  There are significant consequences for doing so. But what if the very nature of Christianity is to first deconstruct so that it can give way to what God is already doing in our lives?  What if deconstruction is central to redemption.

Jesus said, “Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”(John 2:19)

What I love about Jesus’ statement was that He would build the church, but he called the people around him listening to tear down the temple.  It was a co-partnership in redemption.  What if it is our part to tear down the stuff that gets in the way, to face the deepest stuff that has arrested our own restoration?  What if our part was to clear the space so that he could give us what he’s been longing to give us for so long.  What if the very nature of our own restoration requires tearing down stuff, stuff that doesn’t work?

And I’m not talking about building and budgets, or robes and stained glass.  I’m talking about the lies that penetrate our lives.  I’m talking about the ones that keep us locked in oppression, in something that resembles a half baked attempt at life.

The more I work with people, the more I realize that stuff can quickly become idols and ornaments, but they are not the real problem.  They are the diversion.  They are the stuff we point to to avoid the real problem, which are the lies.  How we do church must first be center on addressing the original problem in the Garden, which was a loss of relationship.  And this relationship produced death.

The central problem in the Garden was a lie…not a building.  And central to redemption is deconstructing the lies that keep us locked in oppression.

I still wrestle with the building stuff, mostly because I’m an organization guy.  I know that structures affect how an organization accomplishes its mission.  But I want to always remember what the central work of redemption is really about.

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What would a true organic church that empowers its people to act effectively look like?

Two posts hit me today.  The first was from Alan Hirsch who pointed out the 12 Traditions in AA on how they run an organization. The list is rather extraordinary in how it gives out power and shuns control:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose-to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

AA is one of the most successful organizations in the world because they give away power.

The second post was from Seth Godin who pointed out what happens when a system is broken.  He asks a powerful question:

Stuff happens in every organization that has a system. You can’t eliminate it. The question is: what do your people do when they see ‘broken.’ What do you encourage/permit them to do?

Both of these posts got me thinking.  Do we give away power in the church?  And do we allow people within the church to fix what is broken when they see it?  And if we did, what would that look like?

Your thoughts.

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