Thursday, August 04, 2005

Stunted Growth

Like an overbearing parent, I think that many church systems do not allow the natural growth and development of members. Fearing chaos, conformity is the desired result. Rather than allowing the sometimes messy process of growth, which includes making mistakes, members are subtly steered into obedient conformity.

As followers they assume a passive role, aligning themselves with the group agenda. The structures themselves often communicate that members have nothing to contribute (except $).

From a psychology journal concerning family systems:

If a child is exhibiting symptoms of underachievement, and if, in examining the system a parent is found to be overbearingly overprotective of the child, the key to treating the child’s symptomatic underachievement is to treat the parent’s overbearing protectiveness of the child so as to give the child breathing room to grow in self confidence and, in the development of his or her own abilities and talents.

Sometimes, it is easier for a parent who does not want to face a problematic area within self, to focus solely on the child. Making the child’s underachievement the issue.

I've too often heard complaints among leaders about the lack of maturity and growth of members. All of the programs to produce maturity have little effect because we still have a system in place that dominates thoughts and behavior. I would like to see this conversation shifted to recognizing how the system has hindered growth and to addressing what changes could be made to encourage participation and responsibility.

The same fear and control that discourages participation also is evident in the hesitancy to release people to fulfill the vision that is in their heart. Often ideas and vision are stifled because they are viewed as a threat to the existing power. At that point the system becomes an obstruction to the advancement of the kingdom.

Rather than an attempt to contain talent within our own organization, I hope we see more desire to release that talent to be expressed in its own way. I believe when we start trusting the holy spirit's transforming power in peoples' lives, we will see incredible growth and maturity in the body of Christ.

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