Sitting with a group of non-profit employees from SW Vermont for our monthly meeting, I had a chance to hear how the group began. Apparently some non-profit leaders got together and wanted to start a group that would pool our resources together, help one another out, and work to promote all of the organizations. There was no central leader beyond a facilitator. They tried to make a mission statement, but thankfully scrapped it. They essentially decided to meet, hang out, and help one another.
Some members of the group thought it would flop. No mission, no central leader, no membership guidelines, no go. One doubter mentioned at the last meeting that he had been completely wrong.
The group is flourishing. We are constantly looking for a larger meeting place because more groups are being added each month. The collaboration is great, and I find that our meetings go very smoothly with the gentle guidance of a facilitator.
Predictably (if you didn’t see it coming already), I began to think about the church. What does this teach us about organizational dynamics and the church? Just this, we don’t have to be hyper-organized like a business. Is it possible that our mission and activities flow less from strategic planning by a few key leaders and more from group collaboration?
Technorati Tag: church
Planning and expectations can be a huge problem in fact. I love the way that this network just goes with the flow, adapting to each situation. Since we do not have a clear expectation of what has to happen, we are open to whatever path may become open.
Keep in mind that I am not advocating that Christians gather without brain, Bible, or Spirit of God. Certainly we gather around our common Lord, his scriptures, and expect his Spirit to move. But saying what will happen when we meet and what our corporate goals should be before we even gather, seems to put the cart before the horse.
Perhaps the church needs:
Less planning and more discerning
Less leading and more facilitating
Less teaching and more collaborating
Less requiring and more including
I also like the idea of the church being a network, connected with other members of the body through our Lord, but not demonstrating a hierarchy over one another unnecessarily.