This question plagues me: do our churches better reflect Jesus’ perspective on His Kingdom, or our culture’s infrastructure of corporate America and organizational control?
I’m an organizational thinker by nature. So before you assume I’m an anti-establishment, VW van-driving, dope-smoking peacenik, you should know I highly value an intentional approach to everything I do (heck, even Jesus had the crowd of 5,000 sit down in groups of 50 before He miraculously fed them with the 5 loaves and 2 fish). Structure isn’t our enemy, but I do wonder if it’s become our idol.
Check out a few of the things Jesus said His Kingdom is like:
- A small seed that is planted and grows into a large tree (Mark 4:30-32)
- A hidden treasure that must be searched for and found (Matthew 13:44)
- Yeast that’s kneaded methodically into bread-dough (Luke 13:20)
Interestingly enough, He never referred to His Kingdom as any of the following:
- A Fortune 500 company (although Jesus was hardly unintentional with His actions)
- An educational institution (although Jesus definitely was a teacher)
- An NFL franchise (although Jesus is undoubtedly an Indianapolis Colts fan)
God values order and intentionality, but sometimes I wonder if we’ve built structure as a cheap substitute to the messy work of getting personally involved in other people’s lives. Organization centralizes power, makes it easier to point to what I “own” or can take credit for, gives us a system to push people into. And the dirty little secret, makes it possible to collect the money (you were already thinking it, I might as well say it).
Or maybe it’s even simpler than that. Maybe it’s just because that’s what we see around us, because that’s how “our world” works. And it’s easier to respond with what we know, what our culture and history tells us, than to search out what God really desires.
I don’t know if I’m right. Just something I’m wrestling with. Have we missed the mark, or is this just a case of unnecessarily taking easy pot-shots at the American church? What do you think?