Friday, January 07, 2011

Belonging is commitment

I recently read Search to Belong by Joseph Myers. Myers makes some strong points but ultimately he falls short on the purpose of the church. Myers seems to think that because people have limitation, the church should not encourage deeper relationships. I guess he presumes that most people are already at or near capacity. I don't think that is true. In fact, I think most people are looking for more personal and more intimate relationship, but struggling to find them. That is they struggle to find the godly form of those relationships and thus relationships often are a burden not a joy.

While Myers has some good point, particularly the need for the church to cultivate relational environments rather than to create artificial relationships through programs, I think the table below demonstrates the difference between my point of view and his. He sites the work of Bullard and seem to think that the "Community" is the goal of the church. (I'd actually argue that it is the goal of current culture.) I think that Family is the relational goal of the church. I added to Myer's summary of Bullard in thoughts in the last column and the last three.

Relational perspectives from 4 different church models*

Family Communities
Elected or appointed according to rules
Recruited or drafted to work on specific project
Voluntarily connected in search of genuine and meaningful experiences
Voluntary commitment, often unspoken, based on common experiences and a need for one another
Making decision or setting policies
Maturing to performing tasks more effectively
Add qualitative relationship, meaning, and experiences to the organization, organisms or movement
Move to meet the best of all—individually and as a unit
Fixed term
Serve for life of project
No bounded membership and members come and go as interest dictates
Members are received with both family and individual accept adoption; Membership loss is mourned
Outside Assistance
High quality training and consultants
Partner with respected practitioners or coaches
Align with advocates who come alongside
Relate to outsiders as extended family
People of respect
People of expertise
People of passion
People of mutual love
Build loyalty to mission
Create effect action
Provide enthusiasm
Create an environment of unconditional love
Style of Work
Making lasting decisions and manage resources
Debate strengths and weaknesses to develop the best product
Dialog to arrive at the best solution
Seek wisdom with reliance on patri/matriarchs to ensure the most loving decision for all
Share mission but seldom power

Share love both inwardly and outwardly
Look to created purpose for subcommittees or department
No real reason unless a new project comes long
Based on an individual or segment of the membership discovering an following a new passion together
When younger members mature an begin a family of their own
The Lost
At worst: a thread to the organization
At best: another project for another committee
At worst: Something that slows productivity
At best: A hill to conquer together
At worst: A distraction for the communities goals
At best: The passion
At worst: A threat to the family
At best: Objects for expanding the circle of love
* Adapted and expanded from George Bullard’s “Abandon Committees, Skip Teams and Embrace Communities” as summarized in The Search to Belong by Joseph R. Myers, pg. 14-15. (The shaded area represents Bullard’s work.)