Tuesday, January 30, 2007

mission creep?

I've been mulling over a comment made last week, that having a plan for the future of the church was starting to get into thinking like a business, rather than like a church. One or two musings:

a lot of the language we're 'borrowing' from business was actually Biblical language in the first place - mission, vision, purpose, plans (I know the plans I have for you) etc. It shouldn't be alien language to us.

However, whilst it's been away, the language has been mixing with all sorts of people, and so it's not the same as it was when we let it go. Mission doesn't just mean God's mission. Purpose isn't just about what we're here on earth for, vision isn't just about prophets. We can't just accept this language back wholesale without critiquing it.

But.... perhaps some useful things have happened to this language too. Human thinking has developed, and our thinking about leadership, organisations etc. has developed too. As long as we are discerning, there's nothing wrong in learning from the best of 'secular' wisdom, because when it comes to wisdom there is no sacred-secular divide anyway. All wisdom is God's wisdom. Also, it may give us ways of understanding the Bible which we didn't have before. I'm fond of Mark 1, where Jesus goes away to pray after a busy day of ministry, and comes back with a renewed sense of his goals and purpose (we must go to the other towns (goals) because I must preach the gospel there also (purpose)). Does thinking about that with 'business' eyes warp our understanding of Jesus or enhance it?

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