Thursday, November 13, 2008

People vs. Process & Policy

Over the past few weeks, I've once again been wrestling with how we do church in North America. Although many people might not know it, there is a continuous tension I am fighting and I believe many ministry leaders fight. It's the tension of seeking to remain true to Scripture in respects to how Christ desires His body to function together in community and our need to function within culture as a not-for-profit organization that needs to follow law and live by certain processes and policy. With that in mind, I have been really wrestling (part of it is my personality) with seeking to find a balance as God calls us meet and move people yet function as a large organization.

I have recently found myself frustrated with policy/process that gets in the way of meeting and moving people. Now don't misunderstand what I'm saying as I understand we need process/policy to keep us organized and help us manage our finances, facility and ministry with integrity. But, I've been amazed at how comfortable we all can get with certain processes and policies that we allow to trump our vision to meet and move. Now I'm not foolish enough to think that policies and processes aren't needed, but I'm beginning to believe that they must become much more fluid as we are more than just an organization. I would like to suggest that the church is a living organism that is constantly growing and transforming in Christ our Lord.

With this in mind, I'm beginning to understand more deeply that I and those I work with need to be comfortable with change because the church is more than an organization. We are a living, moving and vibrant body alive and free in Christ our Head. There is nothing worse than a stagnant and dying church. God is in the business of change/transformation which means that I can't allow processes/policy to stand in the way of what God wants to do. Jesus doesn't rescue us from sin so that we can remain the same. He rescues us from sin so that we can begin a journey of life transformation that is anything but static.

So, the big question for me then is "why do we allow or expect certain processes and policies to remain static?" I'm convinced that a lot of it has to do with our desire to be comfortable. Change is never easy. Whether we are talking about life change or policy/process change, it doesn't always excite us. It can get uncomfortable, yet, our God who never changes is in the business of changing us.

At the end of the day, people and life change must trump static and comfortable processes and policies. Yes, we will always need certain policies and processes as we function as a not for profit organization here in the state of PA. But, we at Grace are a living and vibrant organism first as we live, function and move forward in our living and vibrant Savior. I'm sure the tension will always remain, but seeing God transform lives must always trump static policies and processes which continues to be a growing experience for me.

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