I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard stories of people approaching leadership at a church with ideas about how they can serve or new ministries to start or whatever – only to be shut down.
One or a few people at the church decide that the person’s ability or idea doesn’t fit into what the church is doing at the time. So the person never does that thing. Or more likely, they end up leaving to look for a new community that might accept what they’re offering.
They just want to feel like they belong.
Fear in community needs a plan to be in charge of the direction of life together. Then it needs a strategy to accomplish the plan. It needs to know HOW before it knows the actual possibilities for what individual people and the group as a whole are capable and willing to do.
When this happens, the people and the resources that don’t fit with the strategy that the most influential in the group want to execute get smashed.
Why? Judgments are made that what they can or are willing to do won’t help accomplish the predetermined plan.
If talents are offered that aren’t needed, they will be ignored. If resources are available that don’t support the HOW, they won’t be used.
The plan, and whoever makes it, determines what a groups’ options are. It decides what talents are needed. It allocates what resources it wishes to use. It controls what activities should be done.
Here are your options
And for any people that don’t have, can’t support or simply don’t want to do what the plan is looking for; there exist a couple of options…
One…the people must change by becoming and offering something other than what they can or are willing to.
This typically plays out with more influential people in a group asking less influential people in a group to be or do something in service to the plan.
Those willing to submit will stay. Those not willing to submit don’t.
Two…the people must be replaced. Because many aren’t willing to submit (nor should they), this typically plays out through turnover in a community.
Inevitably, the people that don’t fit the plan and strategy will feel like they don’t belong. And if the people holding the plan and strategy were honest, they don’t want them to stay anyway if they’re not going to submit and fit into it.
Where a plan and strategy should come from
Faith in community believes the Lord is in charge of the direction of life together through the people and resources He supplies. The strategy is who the people are, what they have and what they can do.
Faith doesn’t need to know HOW beforehand. It lives in the moment and considers all possibilities for moving forward right now. Faith makes plans and has strategies for accomplishing them. But the people and their resources are in charge as they’re supplied and used by the Lord; not the plan.
This makes the plan and strategy fluid. It can (and sometimes should) be completely different just because one new person joins the community; or because time has passed and the people and resources in the community have grown and changed.
If possibilities emerge that don’t fit with the strategy, the strategy changes. If talents are offered that don’t fit the plan, the plan adjusts. If resources change, whatever is available gets used.
The people and their resources ARE the community. Each person’s belonging makes the foundation. The plan and the strategy are secondary.
You are enough and have enough
Fear results in discontent with who is in a group, what it has and what it can do. Those who allow fear to order life together give off a sense that the community is never where it needs to be.
Faith is the opposite. Instead of asking the group to be something it’s not, it sees what it is and moves forward utilizing what it has and what it can do.
This doesn’t mean there isn’t work on growth. But those who allow faith to order life together give off a sense that the community is OK where it is while it’s continuously working on growth.
Fear appreciates a life together that is ordered mechanically. It builds a model, creates a machine, and then asks people to assimilate into it. The church is treated as an object.
Faith appreciates a life together that is ordered organically. Since the people are the church, the church assimilates to the people that join it. The church is treated as an organism.
Operating by faith that what the people are is enough and they have enough is what it means to be organic. It’s what it means for life together to be ordered by the Life of Christ.
The rest of the posts in the What It Means To Be Organic series are here.