Today Neil Cole author of the Organic Church was a guest lecturing in my DMin Class at Talbot. He shared that if an organization is to avoid becoming instutionalized the leaders and the organization must embrace a theology of death. Both the leaders and the organization must die to itself (Luke 8:23-24).
What I found interesting was his observation that the opposite of death, in this scenario, is not life, but SAFE. A true sign of a movement becoming institutional is the draw toward safety. The institution circles the wagons to protect itself from the “barrage” of outside influence. The organization moves from a theology of death to a theology of safe.
What does this theology of SAFE look like? He shared four “safe” descriptors:
Self-preservation = mission
Avoidance of the world and/or risk = wisdom
Financial security = responsible faith
Education = maturity
When a organization's choices are made to preserve what it has instead of moving out in missional ngagement it is on the edge of potential demise.
Can an organization play it safe? Yes! Should an organization play it safe? Many might say it must in order to survive for the long haul. But is survival the primary issue? Or should the organization boldly run after its proactive mission and say with Esther, “…If I [we] must die, I [we] am [are] willing to die” (Esther 4:16).