Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Filling the Slots

It is easy to see the goal of the church organization as recruiting people to fill open positions. Often there is a desperate struggle to find someone to fill spots. This can result in a frustrated attitude on the part of the leadership. But there can also be frustration on the part of the people. The things they would like to do or are good at seem to be not needed or are minimized. Now we live in a fallen world. It is not surprising that things do not always work out the way we would like them to. But could there be a deeper problem?

Scripture says that the body of Christ is diverse people with diverse gifts, working in unity (1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Romans 12:3-8; Colossians 2:19). This results in people being built up in Christ (Ephesians 4:11-16; Colossians 1:28,29; Matthew 28:18-20). But it is easy to let the purpose become the perpetuation and growth of the organization. Or even the upholding of the authority of the leadership. Now it is appropriate for leadership to have authority, but that authority is for building up the congregation (1 Peter 5:1-4; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:12,13). But when it is turned the other way and the congregation is seen as having the purpose of exalting the leader, there is a problem.

However, there can be a reaction to this of individualism.  We can see ourselves as carrying out our ministry on our own, apart from the rest of the body. We can also see our goal as developing our potential, without regard for others' needs. We should understand that we are part of a community (Hebrews 10:24,25; Philippians 2:1-4; 1 Peter 2:4,5).  

That is why we need to think things through when it comes to filling slots in the organization. The most basic question is whether the slots should be filled or should be there at all. And there is also more involved here than just the heavy hand of tradition, though that can be a problem. The deeper question is whether this is building up the people or building up the organization. Now part of building people is inviting new people in. But there is a question of what we are inviting them in to. We need to ask what can best be done to encourage people to use the gifts and abilities they have. Now I think there is a place for a person to accept a job they are not particularly gifted in because that is needed. But we have to ask what we mean by needed. And the leaders have to consider what the people are capable and motivated to do. Now there are individualistic tangents that people need to be reined in on. But the issue needs to be the good of the people involved and not just what makes the organization run smoothly. For if our goal is to build people, the organization needs to serve them, not the other way around.

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