Systems and Structure

Pope-leo[15] My friend and I have had an ongoing conversation about how to do church. The one thing that we’ve tried to do is to hear what God is saying about the mission and purpose of the church that we attend. This has been an ongoing conversation.

Our greatest frustration is to get others to focus on what the church should be about. We find that the more we focus on the mission and purpose statements of the church, the more resistance to change we encounter.

The other night we had a particularly “spirited” conversation about the topic, and I sensed that as we parted company, we were both a little frustrated and feeling down about our seeming lack of progress.

The conversation continued this morning, and one thought came out of all this. We have been focusing on changing the system, and not the people. The passage that came to mind was Eph. 6:12:

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (ESV)

This tells me that we are trying to change the system and not the people in the system.

In other words, we are fighting a losing battle.

As long the system is our focus, we are lost in a quagmire that will only drain us and spit us out like a seed from a piece of fruit.

We have to change our focus, not simply to address the problem by writing a vision/mission/purpose statement for the system, we need to make our main focus the need to disciple, mentor, spiritual formation, make followers of Christ, etc., in order for change to happen. This will happen because we need to make the role of the Holy Spirit in each person’s life of paramount importance.

So, structure is good, it is necessary, but that isn’t what we are called to do. We are called to introduce people –not the system, to Christ, so that we all may experience abundant life.

What this makes me wonder is, how many times in the past I’ve looked directly into the sun and not seen it?

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