Part I: Can We Keep An Organism From Eventually Becoming An Organization?
Definition: noun, plural: organisms (Science: Biology) - An individual living thing that can react to stimuli, reproduce, grow, and maintain homeostasis. It can be a virus, bacterium, protist, fungus, plant or an animal. Supplement - Word origin: Greek organon = instrument. Related forms: organismic (adjective), organismal (adjective), organismically (adverb). Synonym: living thing, living being, individual. (http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Organism)
or·ga·ni·za·tion noun \ˌor-gə-nə-ˈzā-shən, ˌorg-nə-\
1) a company, business, club, etc., that is formed for a particular purpose 2) the act or process of putting the different parts of something in a certain order so that they can be found or used easily 3) the act or process of planning and arranging the different parts of an event or activity
Full Definition of ORGANIZATION - 1 a : the act or process of organizing or of being organized; b : the condition or manner of being organized 2 a : association, society <charitable organizations> b : an administrative and functional structure (as a business or a political party); also : the personnel of such a structure. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/organization)
It is so easy to go from being an organism, “a living thing, a living being, an individual, to becoming an organization, an administrative and functional structure. We discover how to bring life or a solution to a problem, then immediately want to organize it to make it more “efficient”.
For example, many hospitals were birthed as a “living” effort to reach out to the sick, especially those who are poor, but once established it becomes an organization to improve its “efficiency” which has brought us to America today where we have developed entire “conglomerates” whose bottom line is the business model of dollars and cents rather than for care for the poor. What started as a good cause, became an efficient system, that eventually becomes all consuming and overwhelming where the organization becomes more important than the original cause. An example is the YMCA, originally a British Christian outreach program for physical health and cheap housing, who now has lost the “C” and is known strictly as the “Y”, and is memorialized by the Village People propagating the gay population in San Francisco in their hit song, “YMCA”.!
This phenomenon also happens with the Church. A person shares one-on-one the gospel producing fruit with several others now believing. As they share their faith, the group grows in size. As it does, they soon believe they can meet more needs if they organize resources to make it more efficient, thus structure and order is formed. Soon structure and order leads to tradition, and we begin to lock in our organization standards which eventually become set in stone, and the movable, fluid, organism is stifled, if not crushed. It is also the dream of some churches to organizationally grow into “religious conglomerates” known as mega-churches where maintaining the huge system becomes an albatross to the effectiveness of the ministry.
We, the church, spend so much time and effort into organizing structures, services, and activities to be more efficient, believing that is the definition of “good stewardship”, rather than spending it on relationships and personal one-to-one contact with our neighbors and other believers. Soon we are willing to “invest” our finances to hire a professional staff to fill organizational positions to perform religious activities rather than staying personally involved in one-to-one relationships, and we wake up discovering we have also become “the institutional church”, though we tend to deny that truth.