Some will decry organizational efforts in the church due to our freedom in Christ. Yet, a lack of organizational structure causes us to appear to be merely floundering around with everyone doing what seems right in their own eyes. However, likening the Church to a Body suggests the need for organization in order to properly function as a coordinated whole. And, so does our freedom in Christ provide parameters within which we should function, and hence a degree of organization to keep a diverse group of people living in accordance with that freedom.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Gal. 5:13-14)
Why Our Freedom in Christ Calls for a Level of Organization within the Church
Galatians 5:13-14 affirms the freedom we have in Christ but also puts qualification on how we exercise it. It begins with what we are not to do: “do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh.”
Freedom in Christ is not about everybody living for themselves. It does not translate into self-centered, self-indulging behavior.
Freedom in Christ does not mean it’s all about me and what I want. It does not translate into entitlement.
Our sinful human nature will want to take us in those directions which is not acceptable behavior for individual followers of Jesus, albeit a group of Christ followers (Eph. 4:1; Col. 1:10). Christ-like organization within the Church puts parameters on the way we function so we have some sort of structure to work for the good of everyone.
The Parameters Set for Organization Because of Freedom in Christ
Galatians 5:13-14 goes on to tell us how we are to exercise our freedom —“serve one another humbly in love.” We place these positive parameters on ourselves so what we do fulfills God’s over-riding purpose to love “for the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
1) We organize in ways that enhance ministry, enabling people to express their freedom in Christ through serving.
2) We organize in ways that extend grace and support rather than an hierarchical need for control, expressing our freedom in Christ with humility.
3) We organize in ways that edify and cause us to think beyond ourselves, causing us to think about out need to express our freedom by serving one another humbly in love.
When we stay within these parameters, our organizational efforts enhance ministry rather than entangle, or take away, our freedom — the topic of the next post.