One of the basics of life in Christ is the freedom He came to bring us. No longer enslaved to sin we are free to live for and in all that is good and right.
Christ-like leadership helps people live in that fullness of life in Christ. We must take great care to function in ways that align with His intent as we provide organization to our churches or ministries.
Understanding the Freedom Jesus Brings
Jesus’ mission involved setting people free:
One day while in the temple Jesus read from the book of Isaiah, prophecies about Himself — “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Lk. 4:18-19)
Jesus’ means of freeing people involved proclamation of truth as seen the verses above and below:
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (Jn. 8:32)
Jesus’ motivation goes beyond merely freeing, or saving, us from the penalty of sin, to enabling us to live in that freedom.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (Jn. 8:34)
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Gal. 5:1)
Governed by Such Freedom, Organization Must be Enhancing Ministry, Not Entangling It
Certainly God intends for our churches and ministries to function within the freedom He came to give us. Legalism isn’t our only enslaving practice. We must take great care not to let well-meaning efforts to provide organization pull us away from the truth that sets us free.
In an attempt to become more efficient, sometimes we put organizational structures in place that end up boxing us in. Entangled by so much red tape, people can barely move. As a result, they feel more oppressed than free.
- What are the minimal number of regulations and procedures we need to be efficient?
- What can we do to enhance the way we use our resources and time, as good stewards, rather than restrict such investment?
In an effort to keep from floundering around aimlessly, sometimes we get so structured that we only have time to maintain status quo. Entangled by many low impact programs and procedures, we end up consuming so much of people’s time and energy that they have little left for true ministry leading to the health and growth of the Body.
- What programs or procedures do we have that have run their course or outlived their usefulness and need to be eliminated or revamped?
- What can we do to keep the focus on our purpose to love God and others, rather than programming, to ensure that what we do enhances ministry rather than pull us from it?
With an attempt to function as a coordinated whole, sometimes we organize with the expectation that we all operate the same way. Entangled by the need to conform, people lose freedom of choices and creativity that enables them to express the unique contributions they can make to the Body.
- Which parameters or expectations do we put on people that are necessary to keep everyone under the umbrella of God’s purpose for our church and, which are merely ways we’re micromanaging and keeping people from being who God made and gifted them to be?
- How can we better promote unity out of diversity?
Wanting to be more efficient, keep ourselves from floundering around aimlessly, and function as a coordinated whole seem like good objectives for our organizational efforts. What starts out as good, however, can be taken to an extreme and bring more harm than good as it ends up entangling us rather than freeing us. When we live within the freedom Christ came to give, we still seek to meet those objectives but do it in ways that reflect that freedom.