The gospel work of the church is viral and adaptive. It infiltrates and subverts established powers. It is a winding, weaving, rooting, climbing, spreading vine that can crack bricks and choke out competition. There is connection enough to get nutrients out to the farthest tips of the next burgeoning vine and leaflet. It isn’t a complicated structure; roots, vines, leaves. The New Testament picture of the local church was chaordic, a tenuous balance of chaos mixed with just enough order to keep it together. If your church becomes structurally heavy then you minimize your gospel effectiveness.
Bureaucratic committees with sub-committees reflect American political ideologies and Wall Street power grids but not the local church’s raw, ever-branching spread-ability. If you have to error between simple and complicated then fall to the side of simple. Simplicity is the faith step that releases individual members to be led by the Holy Spirit freeing them to contextualize the gospel message. Leadership and organizationally heavy churches stifle the very work they are trying to rally. The church is an open field and the gospel a seed. Hold it and you will choke it; release it and watch it grow.
For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field… – I Corinthians 3:9
Some leaders are primarily gifted as administrators, given to order and process. They have to-do lists and those lists have sub-ordered to-do lists under alphabetical headings. Other leaders may focus on more organic components of church life but administrators tune into the organization. Here is the warning, administrator, don’t be so keen on keeping order in your church and personal faith that you miss the priority of life. A corpse, thanks to the undertaker, has everything in order. A computer is in order but quite lifeless.
Catholic Bishop, Léon-Joseph Cardinal Suenens said in 1974:
I felt as I became a bishop, taking part in the work of the hierarchy, that the Lord was calling me first to be at the disposal of the Holy Spirit, and second to be an administrator. If God is to be free to act, we need the Spirit and life first; then we give it order. Life proceeds order.
Don’t spend your days administering a dead ministry, career, or system all for the sake of order. Prayerfully seek God’s daily filling. It is messy and unpredictable and organic but with Jesus-infused life you will have something worth organizing. Your systems will flow from a well of life. Your plans will come from a place of abundance and vibrancy.
You can’t harvest from fruitless plants, no matter how straight the rows are.
I came that (administrators) might have life and have it to the full. -Jesus (John 10:10)