The Tension of Instability

For those of you who read some of my recent posts, you know I am working on a new Drucker book.  As I was working through a recent chapter, something really stuck out to me.  I am really thankful to see parallels within different spheres, because I really believe it helps us to have a fuller, more complete view and understanding of each.  As I was considering Drucker's insight (below) on business and the community, I saw a parallel with ministries and the church. Here are some snippets from the book, in italics, with non-italics as commentary:

Society, community and family are all conserving institutions.  They try to maintain stability and to prevent, or at least to slow, change. (Is this recognizably similar to your congregation?)

The modern organization is a destabilizer.  It must be organized for innovation, and innovation, is creative destruction (according to Joseph Schumpter.) It must be organized for the systematic abandonment of whatever is established, customary, familiar and comfortable.  It must be organized for constant change.  It's function is to put knowledge to work. (Think about the ministries that are on the move, attracting the Lord's grace and people.  Doesn't this seem like what they are doing?)

To reiterate – Conserving institutions are a stabilizing force, working to maintain a constant.  You can see this need or tendency in society at large, and in their constant alarm and concern over change.  The modern organization is a destabilizing force, which I have observed ministries to be such a force (calling for change.)  The church, and local congregations, I have experienced to be a stabilizing force (creating context and predictability), which is also very needed and produces it's own positive outcome.

The rub or tension comes between the two, and we have all observed, when there is a lack of patience on the part of the one whom the Lord has sent and/or an unwillingness to change on the part of the church.  Let's remember the law of motion – any object not in motion tends to remain not in motion until acted on by a greater and external force, and vice versa.  Such ministries that the Lord sends to His body to bring about change, themselves, are not greater than the church.  The grace of God that they carry is what has the force to move things forward, and to bring about the desired movement that the Lord envisions.

Also, let's keep in mind, any significant change will take a significant amount of time to take place.  The more significant, the more time is usually required.  If you have a calling to introduce significant change, don't frustrate God's grace by expecting that to happen quickly.  Trying to move too quickly will frustrate God's grace on both the church, and the ministry, as will trying to move too slowly, or not moving at all.  When I say church, this applies, in my mind, to the local congregation, as well as the Church, worldwide, as a whole.  Ministries here are the individuals or teams that the Lord is sending to the church to get her to advance more fully into His grace and plan.

Of course, our humanity gives opportunity to the tension between change and the constant.  We need a quantity of certainty to go along with our uncertainty!  We cannot handle everything changing at once, some things need to be (or at least appear) constant while other things are in flux.  Depending on the individual/group, there are varying degrees of each needed…. and God is not impatient with us, or unaware of our needs.  He made us as we are, and He also made us with the idea in mind of what we are to become.  He is with us all the way, because His love for us is the primary constant in the middle of mounting uncertainties.

One Reply to “The Tension of Instability”

  1. Change is inevitable. The new generation coming up is sick of religion as usual and will never grace the doors of your normal church with their presence. However they are looking for what is real. They will listen to that. I believe they are looking for the real and present and relevant. The word church is being redefined in our generation and Christ defined it. His Body. Not a gathering in a building. Change is inevitable.

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