Monday, April 27, 2009

"Is Your Church A Body?"

Is Your Church a Body?

Continuing in the series by Michael Fleming

“Many church leaders have spent too much time on the art of getting people to participate and too little time trying to understand how people participate.” -Organic Community by Joseph R. Myers

Prior posts in this series:

Is Your Church an Object?

Is Your Church a Clone?

Churches that fall into the trap of manufacturing their environment engineer positions to be filled and then look to fill them. Those that have the gifts and abilities to fill the spots do and those that don’t . . . don’t fit in. This may be one reason why most churches are at about 20% participation and 80% consumption on average. In the mechanical model of church, the church leaders spend their time trying to get people to participate in the positions they’ve manufactured rather than creating an environment where they observe how people position themselves in participation. The way in which people participate is another example of the dichotomy between the church that is an object and the church that is a living organism.

When a mechanical plan is engineered, leaders then ask people to participate in the way that will serve the plan. The people are turned into commodities to accomplish a goal. In this environment, the health of the organization is put above the health of the individual. People are seen for what they can do for the master plan rather than for who they are. But, the church environment should be one where the individual feels free and is responsible to act uniquely as themselves for the good of the group as a whole. Organic order holds that what comes out of the group is what the individuals collectively bring to it. (I Corinthians 12:7, 18; Ephesians 4:15-16)

With this may come a feeling of being “out of control,” but this is exactly the environment you are supposed to be in as a Christian. It’s an environment where man gives up control and lets the life of God and the Head take it. “FROM HIM, the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Eph. 4:16) No man can be the Head; he is only a part of the Body that is controlled by the Head. Would God place a man to be the head of a church? Why would Jesus need someone to do His job? As soon as man takes control, he places himself in the position of the Head. This is what mechanical plans do. This doesn’t mean that we should fall into extreme thinking and suggest that there should be no leadership or control. But, it’s a matter of the Person (Jesus) doing the controlling.

Leaders can put their faith in mechanical plans because they have greater faith in mechanical plans than they do in Jesus Christ working in and through people. Plans are more predictable and easier to control. An environment where the life of God is animating the movements of the Church under the direction of the Head, Jesus Christ, is where healthy participation naturally emerges.

Myers, Joseph P. "Organic Community"

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