Different forms of organisation in local churches

Report
St Edmundsbury Study Day
God and the World: Opportunities for Mission
(II) The Parish Church and God’s Mission
(i) Models of the Church-in-mission
(ii) Different Forms of Organisation
(iii) Matching up Models with Forms
(becoming a sacrament of mission)
(iv) Application to Parish Churches
This CartoonChurch.com cartoon by Dave Walker originally appeared in the Church Times.
(i) Models of the Church-in-mission
Stephan B. Bevans and Roger P. Schroeder,
Constants in Context: A Theology of Mission for
Today (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2004)
Four contemporary models of the church-inmission
- A model is a stylised representation of an
authentic tradition
The four models thread their way through all
theological and denominational traditions, but with
varying emphases in different traditions and in
different local churches
While churches often express two or three of them
one will be predominant.
Which is it for your church?
(i) Mission as proclamation of Jesus Christ as
universal saviour - the Salvationist
An emphasis on proclaiming the death of Christ
as the means of salvation out of this world and
into the safety of the gathered church
‘the proclamation of the historical, biblical
Christ as Saviour and Lord, with a view to
persuading people to come to him personally
and so be reconciled to God’
(Lausanne Covenant 1974 para 4)
(ii) Mission as ‘liberating service of the reign of
God’ - the Liberationist
Emphasises social and political praxis in the world
to free people from all that enslaves them:
salvation as ‘liberation from everything that
oppresses man’ (Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi 9)
insisting that this includes every aspect of the
human person, including openness to the divine.
(33).
(An older version of this approach:
the Established Church serving society as a kind
of ‘public utility’ for the rites of passage –
christening, marrying and burying everyone in
the community)
(iii) Mission as participation in the mission of the
Triune God (missio Dei) - the Trinitarian
drawing inspiration from word ‘missio’ - originally
used to describe relationships within the Trinity,
esp. how the Father ‘sends’ the Son and the Holy
Spirit to the world (cf. Romans 8.3)
- an overflowing of God’s relationship of love into
the world: the missio Dei within which the church
is privileged to live and grow… in ever-widening
relationship with the world around
(ii) Different Forms of Organisation
‘Organizational form can be defined as the legal
ownership and constitution under which an
organization operates.’
H. Cameron and M. Marashi, Form or Substance in the Learning
and Skills Sector: Does Organisational Form Affect Learning
Outcomes? London, Learning and Skills Development Agency,
2004, p. 5. Quoted in Helen Cameron Resourcing Mission, SCM
2010 pp.40-41)
It affects…
1. the way in which work is co-coordinated and
managed
2. the way in which governance structures and
processes render an account to stakeholders
3. the ways in which the organization can
secure resources
4. the way in which the assets of the
organization are protected and managed
5. the way in which the organization can
allocate its resources to pursue its mission
6. the ways in which the organization can
establish its legitimacy in the eyes of its
users
Furthermore, Helen Cameron Resourcing
Mission (pp.24-37) describes five genres or
cultural forms of organisation
Most local churches tend to embody one or
other:
I.
Public Utility – provides an essential service; covers
the country; no membership but legal officers
II. Voluntary Association – definite membership; set
procedures for members to run the association
themselves; an agreed aim
III. Friendship Group – voluntary, informal, aim is
fellowship
IV. Third Place Meeting – occurs within a public space
(eg café, pub), constrained by limits of that space,
shared aim which can be changed by agreement
V. Network Resource - to support a group of people
who already have a shared and stated aim
(iii) Matching up the models with
these forms
A. SALVATIONIST
– mission as proclamation of a definite
message… to persuade people to make a
personal response and come into the gathered
church
1. the way in which work is co-ordinated
and managed
Salvationist
• Management: with such a clear aim and
objective there will need to be tight control
of ‘work’, needing a clear leadership structure
providing firm direction and targets…
• Assessment: through measuring the number
of individuals who respond positively and
come into the congregation – a measurable
and quantifiable approach, allowing targets
to be raised each year…
2. the way in which governance structures
and processes render an account to
stakeholders
Salvationist
• through regular and clear communication of
the results of the work, giving the numbers of
individual responses and so quantifying and
measuring progress year on year
3. the ways in which the organization can
secure resources
Salvationist
• through an organised and focused approach (a
‘campaign’ style of fundraising), with
increasing momentum and rising pressure on
supporters to give more and more so as to
broaden the outreach year on year
5. the way in which the organization can
allocate its resources to pursue its mission
Salvationist
• a clear leadership structure will allocate
resources in a managed and targeted way to
maximise the effectiveness of work and
generate a maximum number of responses
Salvationist: summing up
Which of Cameron’s five cultural forms?
…a clear aim; clear set of procedures;
depending on a committed membership…
Voluntary Association
“definite membership; set procedures for
members to run the association themselves;
an agreed aim”
B. LIBERATIONIST
- mission as social and political change in the
world … to build the kingdom in the local
community and beyond
1. the way in which work is co-ordinated
and managed
• Management: such a general aim and objective
implies a loose leadership structure that allows
dialogue and collaboration with other groups in
society, while still providing overall direction to
keep ultimate goal in place…
• Assessment: the aim to change people’s lives in
physical as well as spiritual ways means that
success can only be partially measured and
quantified eg. through assessing the impact of a
community project…
2. the way in which governance structures
and processes render an account to
stakeholders
Liberationist
• through lively communication of the results of
the work, by telling the stories of community
projects and their impact on people’s lives.
Where there is data this will be used, there
will also be a need to relay impressions of
change.
3. the ways in which the organization can
secure resources
Liberationist
• through partnerships with other groups and
local/national government where possible, to
secure joint funding for community projects
5. the way in which the organization can
allocate its resources to pursue its mission
Liberationist
• the leadership will need to be flexible in how
it allocates resources, depending on where its
funding is coming from and what constraints
the donors put on the use of that funding (not
always easy - sometimes conflicts between
donor’s aims and ‘kingdom’ aim).
Liberationist: summing up
Which of Cameron’s five cultural forms?
…providing an essential service, the liberation
of all people; partnership with other bodies
more important than keeping a defined
membership…
? Public Utility
“provides an essential service; covers the
country; no membership but legal officers”
C. TRINITARIAN
– mission as entering into personal relationship
with God in Christ, and with one another,
starting within the church and spreading out in
an ever widening circle of giving and receiving…
1. the way in which work is co-ordinated
and managed
Trinitarian
• Management: this unspecific aim implies
leadership by example rather than direction, in
which Christ-like relationships at the centre
percolate out through the congregation into the
community.
• Assessment: relationships cannot be measured
or quantified, so there is no way of objectively
assessing this approach. Instead, gaining a broadbased impression of the health and happiness of
the church community
2. the way in which governance structures
and processes render an account to
stakeholders
Trinitarian
• Telling the stories of those who make up the
community, stories which show God in Christ
through the Holy reaching out with and
through the church to the wider community.
3. the ways in which the organization can
secure resources
Trinitarian
If relationships are good, everyone will
contribute to the needs of all, in whatever way
they can. Giving will be genuine and
spontaneous, which means amounts will
fluctuate and be unpredictable. When there is
a real need, the necessary resources will be
given.
5. the way in which the organization can
allocate its resources to pursue its mission
The community as a whole will need to come to
a common mind, which may take time and
during which every voice will need to be heard.
The leadership will need to facilitate this
process rather than impose its own ideas.
Everyone will need to feel included while also
recognising that compromises will need to be
made.
Trinitarian: summing up
Which of Cameron’s five cultural forms?
… voluntary relationships all important, but no
defined membership… relationships are to
spread ever outwards into society… aim is
definite but cannot be measured
Friendship Group
“voluntary, informal, aim is fellowship”
but with a community-wide vision
D. PROPHETIC DIALOGUE
Bevans and Schroeder’s fourth model
- living within and in dialogue with postmodern
culture, in places like cafés, gyms, coffee shops,
schools, etc
– but also being prophetic in bearing witness to
the Kingdom through campaigns for the poor,
protest, soup kitchens, community organising, etc.
What kind of organisation is implied by this?
So what?
This analysis shows how different approaches to
mission imply different forms of organisation for
the local church. One should flow from the other.
Integrity in mission will arise when there is this
flow…
And a church within itself will become a sacrament
(an effective sign) of what it is proclaiming
which suggests that churches should reform
their internal organisation
so that they more fully become within what
they seek to proclaim without
(iv) Application to Parish Churches
Which is the predominant form of mission in
your own church?
How could the organisation of your church be
reformed and enhanced in line with this?
What steps would you go through to achieve
this?

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