Monday, April 23, 2012

Organization verses Organism

It’s fairly common I feel (at least for me) to hear
missionaries vent their discouragements of how their mission board does not see things the same way they do. Our world is full of disgruntled burned out missionaries that feel slighted or hurt by a mission organization. What we are facing here is a disconnect between the organism, the life, the vitality and the organization, the structure, the administration. Us field visionaries are full of experiences, dreams and opinions and when we are made accountable to the logical, efficiency and structure of a board of directors there is friction. This friction is created when decisions are made without full understanding and or one steps out of their realm of responsibility and into the realm of another; whether because of distrust or ignorance that depends upon the situation. You can break it down to two groups of people. The board of directors and the board of operations (or field staff); but what are the responsibilities of these two groups and do they over step their responsibilities? Do the Directors try to micro manage those on the field? Does the field not respect the Directors? Is there an umbrella vision that is the thrust of the missionary work? I’m asking questions, questions to make us think. One important key that is a common problem is that each member of the Board of Directors must have personal, practical experience on the given field and also that they have a respect and appreciation for the feelings and opinions of both the field staff and nationals. For us field staff; how are we keeping the Organism alive? Are we passing on the torch? A must for our ministry is that we work through the national leadership that is in place to meet their felt needs. Rather than work around them to try to meet what we perceive to be their needs. This will create ownership which will empower them to carry on the vision.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Rules Verses Freedom

For all those that don't know I'm state side at Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute for their fifth term. Here's some of my homework; a discussion synopsis's.

The topic discussed was in reference to Rules verses Freedom
in relation to church structure and authority. Does Church leadership have
authority to establish rules to govern within a congregation or group of
congregations? Is it extra biblical? And do these principles violate our
“Freedoms” in Christ?I personally think that great care should be taken in this area so as not to quench the guiding principles of the Christian life. Rules stem from principles that are laid out for us by Christ in the New Testament. In the time of the Jews they had the law and then they built a system of rules around the Law. The rules were not “sin” but they bread generations of hypocrites by taking the focus away from the personal relationship with God, and putting it on the rules. In using the word freedom the meaning is twofold. First in Christ we have freedom from sin. But the meaning inferred here is freedom from a binding system that is hindering one from serving God according the principles of Christ. Thus we must ask ourselves, does our rules rob biblical principles of their vitality by taking people’s attention away from the heart of God and turning it to a mortal religious system. Thus in all instances we must look introspectively to see the fruit of these rules. Do they direct one into a closer more intimate relationship with God or do they merely improve one’s personal piety? Are they put in place to fulfill God’s will for man or to preserve biblical convictions? We must also consider the fact that there is a difference between convictions and standards. Convictions are spiritual truths based off of the principles of Christ. Whereas standards are personal guidelines to keep ones flesh in check so as not to violate his/her convictions. These “standards” should be based off of both ones personal weaknesses and the principles of one’s culture, so as not to fall personally and also not to offend a brother. Thus there are standards that apply to one personally and standards that affect a group or society.