Friday, July 21, 2006

Organization And Leadership

Many people I know have been experiencing increasing dissatisfaction about 'inhuman organization and leadership', ministries and churches that are run like 'machines'. Controlling, top-down, dominant, non-listening, autocratic or unaccountable and unapproachable leadership has been a problem in many organizations in recent years, but being anti-organization or anti-leadership will also create problems. Often times finding a balance is really not easy!

A. W. Tozer said that organization is necessary but dangerous, and I think that is so true, and offer a wise balance. The key with both leadership and organization is to seek forms, styles, and attitudes that serve, not that dominate – and that are flexible, not new rigidities. This approach, of course, is what Jesus taught and modeled.

I find the following quote from Brian McLaren very meaningful, it gives me a perspective that encourages me to continue seeking balance as I proceed my journey with the Lord, although this journey is never easy:

"we are all in process, and we move forward like inexperienced canoe-paddlers at times, veering toward one bank, over-correcting toward the other, and so on. With experience and time, instructed by both internal self-examination and constructive external criticism, I trust that we will develop a smooth, graceful, and balanced stroke and move strongly forward in our adventure, enjoying both the journey and our companions, in the joyful presence of God."


Bruce said...

This is a difficult one, Kitty.
No organisation is beyond review.
It is quite natural that an organisation have one leader, but they are what they are because of what they do. They do not use artificial means for establishing their roles.

We should dare to embrace all, as our Master would have us do. We can choose to be 'locked-in' to a multitude of divisive participations i.e. clubs, churches, or on the other hand, remain free of even the thought of such divisions, and "absolve the heart from all restrictions".

If we go back to mainstream humanity then we are so lost within a crowd, our ego is released.

"Our joy may be in natural wonder, in the heart of the moment, with whom we are with - irrespective of expectation."

One can get so locked within a group that they only air they breathe is in the name of that group.

People like to feel part of a group, a favourite football team, race or star-sign.

The monks of old, knew that their order was free from enslavement as long as they gave back to the world.
Their circle was never fully closed.
They provided for a greater Humanity.

Fond Regards,

An Ordinary Christian said...

It is difficult for me to say something relevant for this important topic that you are talking about because I am really tired, but I agree about the importance of this heavy-duty subject, but I think for now I will just say "hi" and "God bless you!"

Kitty Cheng said...

Bruce, what you said here is meaningful! I wonder though, if we embrace all, would we lack focus? That is what I've been grappling with personally. And can you unpack and elaborate what you mean by absolving the heart from all restrictions. Surely people need to be in a community.

Thanks so much for your insights!

Kitty Cheng said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kitty Cheng said...

Andrea, thanks for saying hi. Take care of yourself and God bless you too!

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

There is far too much leadership in the Church today and even more talk about leadership.

Kitty Cheng said...

That's true, but I wonder if it is necessarily wrong. Leadership is an important topic I guess.

Bruce said...

Hi Kitty,
You could probably write a book on the subject- and of course there are such books.

To embrace all is to Love as our Gentle Master would love- this is what we term Christ of the Terrible Love. Can you contain it? Does it make you tremble? Of course it does because we are fragile.

So that is our focus. We mustn't confuse cameraderie with love. You know that dogs lie together to keep warm at night. That is cameraderie. Christ Jesus explained how we reach out in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

We can live in community, but it does not have to be a closed community. There is a sense of belonging in community, but we always must look outwardly as well. Some groups think they are being charitable when they are helping their own members.

I do not suggest the abandonment of societies, as long as they are doing what they say they are doing. And how much time is spent on doing what they are meant to be doing?

It is very hard to stop closed groups becoming cult like. I do understand the reason for the separation- as happens in exclusive brethen type groups. They hope their Christian families, are being protected from "contaminated thought" or people and their bad behaviour. There are good reasons for such protections. But even though the basic premise may be true, overall it will not work, and hasn't worked.

As to the leadership issue, no leader can place himself/herself between you and Christ, or you and God. Also the good leader practices the attitude of the Washing of the Feet, and will be prepared to do what any of the members are prepared to do- wash toilets, make the tea (washing his hands first, of course ;0))etc.


Kitty Cheng said...

Fantastic insights Bruce. Thanks so much for the wisdom. I'll have to process and digest it ;)