Is your church an organism or an organization?

cropped-2012_bobwhitesel_mid_700kbThe following post is from my good friend  Dr Bob Whitesel. Bob serves as Professor of Christian Ministry and Missional Leadership for Wesley Seminary and holds two doctorates from Fuller Theological Seminary. He currently serves as president of the Great Commission Research Network as well as a board member for The Society of Church Consulting.

The church is an organization that must be led and managed.  Theologian Emil Brunner even suggested that since earliest times this is the primary way theologians have viewed the church.

Scripturally the church is also an interdependent and living organism (1 Cor. 12:12, 14, 20, 27) where each person has something to contribute (Eph. 4:11-13, Rom. 12:4-8) to the community’s involvement in God’s mission (Matt. 28:18-20, Acts 1:8). Such scriptures indicate that healthy components (i.e. people) are necessary to form a healthy organization.

Modern leaders tend to view the church as an organization that must be made healthy but millennial leaders view the church as more of an organism to be fed and nurtured to health.

Which is needed?  Both are.  To summarize this dilemma, “a common weakness among church leaders is a poor distinction between organization and church.  Thus, what they are managing gets confused.”

For example, in one congregation a number of staff leaders left the church over conflict with the pastor.  In response the pastor launched a program to build a new facility. Conflict ensued.

One leader told me, “I think we thought that getting the church back to being healthy meant getting people’s minds off of the staff departures … It really backfired.  We’re unhealthy as a church. There is too much backbiting, suspicion and conflict. At our core, we are not healthy, and no amount of building a new Sunday school wing will cover that.”

When faced with a need to marshal the troops, modern leaders often fall back on an emphasis on organization over people. Their aspiration is to foster a healthy organization in hopes that it will trickle down and foster healthy people.

The problem is that unhealthy components will never create a healthy organization.

Click here to read the entire article.

Your partner in ministry,


Like This Post? Stay Updated with Nelson:

Share This Post

© Nelson Searcy. All Rights Reserved.

About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church growth strategist, pastor, church planter and coach, consulting with churches around the world. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has personally trained more than 3,500 church leaders in over 45 denominations through live events, seminars and monthly coaching. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in Boca Raton, FL. Nelson and his church routinely appear on lists such as “The 50 Most Influential Churches” and “The 25 Most Innovative Leaders.” He is the author of over 100 church growth resources and 18+ books, including The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life, Ministry and The Difference Maker: Using Your Everyday Life for Eternal Impact, and At the Cross with the People Who Were There. He and his wife, Kelley, have one son, Alexander.

Nelson SearcyChurch Growth

tagged with: