As Christians, we talk, and think, a lot like office workers:
We are intentional.
We are dynamic.
We are community.
We work as a team and we are family.
We pursue excellence.
We focus on numbers — those sitting in the pews and the amount given in the plate — and we revolve our social life (“fellowship and discipleship time”) around small groups and tightly structured Bible studies.
We buy the same devotional book and plod through it, one chapter at a time, and discuss its ramifications upon the successful outcome of our spiritual walk, for which we have set goals.
We have annual meetings, during which members of the community review the budget (which is already set, incidentally) and listen to reports from various boards. Using Robert’s Rule of Order, we vote for elders, deacons, and deaconesses, from a list of two or three names carefully pre-selected for us, with the expectation that the resulting vote will be unanimous. (I’ll never forget the surprise of the “leadership board” the year they had to report, for the first time, the unintentional results of the election. They were unable to say, as they had in the past, that the voting was unanimous, and rather than mention this, they simply said that candidates A, B, and C had been voted back into office. I know of at least two “no,” votes, and I’m pretty sure leadership knew who cast them.)
It’s not that organization and efficiency are bad. It is, however, that they increasingly shape the form, function, and appearance of the Christian church, and every day, establishment Christianity looks more and more just like that: a reflection of the corporate world.
But this is not what we are called to be: the church is not a worldwide council, led by a few well-known names that seem intent upon promoting themselves into family dynasties. The more we look into Christian organizations, Christian publications, Christian media, Christian mega-churches, Christian mega-celebrities, the more we see what looks like big business, with the name of Jesus slipped in.
“But there is strength in numbers,” people say. “So much more can be done for Jesus when we pull together into an organization, and that organization cooperates with governments, social agencies, universities, and even political leaders.”
But the movement, the way, started with a carpenter who went around with a bunch of fishermen, and when that carpenter talked about power and strength, He was talking about His Father, who still operates today. That same power is accessible to each and every individual believer, who chooses to leave his own life behind, and follow the will and way of God:
“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
We are not office workers, minions under management who can only do something significant if it is part of some great and glorious man-made ministry; we are God’s children, each of us dearly loved, and each of us able to be great indeed, especially when we follow, and pay attention, the words of our Eldest Brother in Mark 9:35:
“If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
How many Christian corporations put that one into their mission statement?
To read more on this matter, please follow the link to Corporate Christianity: How to Stop Thinking Like Office Workers at Commonsense Christianity, BeliefNet.