Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Events and organizations

I belong to a Christian denomination which is renowned for its organizations. These organizations have dress codes, constitutions, membership fees and conventions. They are also dying a slow and painful death. Why? Because we have in our churches a younger generation who live according to the philosophy that "If it is not life-changing, it's not worth it"

Today my friend, Themba, said something profound: "People respond to events, not organizations". It made sense instantly. Thinking about it, I can testify to this phenomenon. We have had so many "events" in the life of our church, and I cannot recall any of these that was not well supported. When we tried to turn these events into a structure, whereby people had to put down their names on a piece of paper, all of a sudden these opportunities would run dry.

I think it is because people want to feel part, but not necessarily bound by anything. Furthermore I was challenged to think about how I live out my faith. Can I describe the practice of my faith as an event, or an institution, a happening or a structure? I fear that if I became clinical in my faith to the extent that I judged others by measuring their commitment to adhering to my organization, I would be deceiving myself.

I'm challenged.


Anonymous said...

I like the way you’re wrestling with this. As I thought about it I’d agree I can see in our own church life that events are frequently more well received than programmes.

At the back of my mind though I can’t help but think of Paul conveying instruction to Titus at Crete, “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you” I guess the point I’m trying to make is that there appears to be a tension between the dynamic and the institutional in the Scriptures.

What say you?

Unknown said...

I agree with Themba's comment about events. But it is also "THE" event meeting Christ that are the important one in anyoune life. I would also add that we should more closely try and walk with people in the church outlining the path and helping them along and encouraging them. I am running a Lay Witness event at Weltevreden MC this weekend, please pray for the event.