I used to write and cartoon about this a lot because I was a pastor of a local congregation. In fact, I turned all that writing and cartooning into a book, Without a Vision My People Prosper.
If you want to have a church or organization that has a vision and a mission at its forefront, then you have to put the personal development and relationships of the individual members second.
In other words, you can either have a task group or a community. You can’t have the fullest of both. One must always surrender to the other.
This is why I claim that churches are healthiest if they put the person and relationships first and let mission develop in pockets, spontaneously and occasionally.
It’s one thing for a business to have a vision and a mission. They pay their employees to get with the program and promote it. The church, however, is a gathering of volunteers who actually pay the church to support it.
You’ve probably heard the expression “Get with the program!” Or “Get on the bus or get off!” In fact, maybe some of us, like me, have said this. The problem with this when it comes to people is that if you don’t get with the program then you get streamrolled by it. If you don’t get on the bus you get thrown under it.
Well, here I am writing about it again because it not only takes place in the church but in Christian movements such as Emergent. We see people sacrificed to a greater good.
The gospels say that Jesus said, “They will know you are my disciples by your love for one another.” Unfortunately, when you put increasing the reputation of the disciples or increasing their numbers first, the love for one another gets… well… steamrolled.
*** The Lasting Supper is an online community of people, many of whom have been steamrolled, but are anything but flattened. Come join us!