Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Is Your Church A Collaboration?"

"Mechanical order coordinates through cooperation. A lot of effort is focused on creating centralized control, consensus and structural protocols. The trouble with this is that the spirit of cooperation is a rigid spirit, one that stifles creativity and discovery. It is more concerned with sequence than rhythm. It squashes the human spirit. The mechanical plan becomes the master. The person or people who developed the plan then will frequently talk about how they want collaboration, but in practice, what they really show is a desire for you to cooperate with their plan by falling into line and making it work."

This is a continuing series by Michael Fleming, working from the book "Organic Community" by Joseph R. Myers.

Previous posts in this series are:
1) Is Your Church an Object?
2) Is Your Church a Clone?
3) Is Your Church a Body?
4) Is Your Church a Scoreboard?
5) Is Your Church a Factory?
6) Is Your Church a Hierarchy?

"The person who develops the plan typically has good intentions, but is afraid of what might happen if they give up control, so they make sure they keep it. The problem is, people are not primarily looking to cooperate with our plan for their lives. Cooperation is an effort to control how people participate. When you do this, they feel violated. Giving up control is not advocating chaos. It’s advocating for an organic order that works in self-organizing ways.

"Organic order coordinates through collaboration. It lives out a healthy process of connecting, but not by asking for people’s cooperation. It grows out of what you experience together – from connecting, not from falling in line with someone else’s program. The parts work together with a fluid, graceful movement like birds flying in a pattern or a school of fish gliding through deep waters. (Colossians 2:19)

"Often, people talk about 'intentional community.' Typically, what they mean can be summed up with words such as purpose-driven, measurable, scientific, deliberate, planned, calculated, or premeditated. The problem is that all of these words are rooted in assumed control, and community cannot be controlled with intention. The truth is that we can have some control over the environments in which community usually emerges, but we have little or no control over community actually emerging. We can intend for the process of community to begin, but we cannot create community intentionally."

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