Friday, February 16, 2007

structure & organization

One of the things that NCD - Natural Church Development measures is Functional Structures

Earl Creps in Off-Road Disciplines writes
... missional leadership derives not from methods or strategies but from the work of the Holy Spirit to rearrange one's interior life.... the off-road disciplines, both personal and organizational serve to decenter me and my ideas by freeing up the place where Christ rightfully belongs... [p. xiv, xvi]
Alan Hirsch in The Forgotten Ways writes
God's people are more potent by far when the have little of what we would recognize as church institution in their life together. [p. 23]
In the west we tend [both from my experience and my observations] to spend a lot of time, money, and energy on the institution. And much of the time that expenditure is on maintaining the organizational institution, the by-laws, the voting, the decision-making process. We spend little time on asking how do we live out this thing we called the church - our life together in Christ, empowered by the Spirit of God so that God's kingdom is manifest [as we say we pray in the Lord's (disciple's) Prayer].

As Creps says... we [personally and the church] need to be decentered.

It's been an interesting journey for us these last, almost 3 months now since we left Trinity. I've never been in a place where we were free to visit a variety of churches to see what God was/is doing. I know that "visiting a church" [what a wierd, North American, consumeristic, non-participatory, non-biblical term] doesn't tell you everything that God is working in that place. But...
  • ...shouldn't there be some evidence of the presence of God?
  • ...shouldn't there be some evidence that what is happening on a Sunday AM is a result of the presence and power of God's Spirit working in a people?
Yes, there needs to be structure in order for there to be freedom and health, but organization and institutional stuff never replaces what the Spirit longs to do.

We visited a church in England, many years ago. Janice was going to Capernwray Bible College near Carnforth, I was hitchhiking through Europe and Maroc. We were able to spend a couple of weeks together over Christmas - New Years. Everything that happened in this church we visited was about a move of the Spirit many years earlier. It was so sad. As sad as people today, when asked, what God is doing in their life, go back to a conversion experience many years previous... that's wonderful, but the God I worship and long to know increasingly more, is changing, transforming me now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I ordered these two books you recommended yesterday at

The other comment - as you know big movements of God are what most believers look for and value -evidence of His Spirit at work.

I am not convinced this is the way it always works...I believe the work he does with the 'onsies and twosies' can have immeasurable Kingdom worth.

But Yes...stagnation is that beautiful aroma of a funeral home!!!! Makes the healthy want to run out of there screaming.

Can't wait to eat em up. RoG