The Church Organization or Organism?

I love how learning can build on learning. I have always been uncomfortable with the thought that the church is primarily an organism rather than an organization. Years ago, when I was a pastor coming into the church from the financial services industry, I was delighted to find a tool for analysis (like a balanced scorecard) called Natural Church Development. Although it taught a philosophy very much in line with the Biblical view of the church being the metaphorical body of Christ, an organic metaphor, it showed how many organizational principles can be pulled from scripture to instruct us on how to set-up church.

So given that introduction one would ascertain that my view is in line with NCD which is a church is both organizational and organism. I do think, however, that many churches are failing to grow and thrive or achieve their mission at any size because they neglect the organizational side of things.

To put it this way, is the human body "man" or "machine"? To me this is a 100% yes to both. There is so much that goes on in my body that keeps me a alive that I have never mentally or physically initiated. Hunger pains, breathing, my heart moving blood, and we know the minutia that follows. Add to that the thought I have just gleaned from The Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Anchor,that  we are "mere bundles of habits." This is actually a quote from Harvard Psychologist William James. In his book Principles of Psychology James points out that there are countless learned habits that we use in our day to day life to streamline decision making and make a day bearable. Things like getting dressed, brushing our teeth, eating or drinking, and how we do all those things from a motor skills perspective. Kind of overwhelming if you think about it, which fortunately we don't.

In essence we have taught ourselves many process and procedures to create harmony and flow in our life. Overarching that is our spiritual being, our personality, how others see us and interact with us. We really are man and machine.

To me, the hard work of the church that many are missing, is the formation of those "invisible" habits by building and teaching believers how to love thorough interaction or how to be selfless and to serve.This is not so we do them by rote in the negative sense, but rather, so the necessary "processes and procedures" are ingrained and part of who we are so our spiritual being can actually focus on and achieve the relational interaction necessary.

Posted via email from Cliff Cline