About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Nortel bottomed out into bankruptcy, Research In Motion, (RIM) maker of
the blackberry smart phone, replaced Nortel as the pride of the Canadian
corporate world. RIM's stock
price rose rapidly, and until recently, it was one of
employs more than 11,000 people in Canada, and thousands more around the world.
Blackberries are seen in the hands of millions world-wide.
So why is RIM in trouble? One
financial analyst says it's Balsillie's and Lazaridis' management style
that is bringing RIM down. They
run the company as if it was a "start-up" company when it's
analyst says there are start-up companies and there are well established
companies, each having a distinct management style.
Start-up companies are small, making it relevtively easy for managers to come
together and agree on a strategic plan for future development.
Well established and large companies can't afford the time and
energy it takes to bring top and mid level executives together to form a
common consensus concerning their future.
The strategic plan is just issued from head office.
Executives comply or move on.
RIM hasn't been around all that long, but it has become a well established large company. This analyst said that Balsillie and Lazaridis would gather all their top and mid level executives, reach a common consensus concerning strategic plans, and then move forward. Despite everyone feeling good knowing they had input into the company's future, RIM lost valuable time in the process of finding a common consensus. In the meantime, Apple left RIM in a cloud of corporate dust.
Balsillie and Lazaridis should have done according to the analyst was to
simply hand their executives the business plan. They could comply or move on. That
struck my interest.
think you'd agree that church as most of us know it, is large
and well established. If
this analyst is right, we're managing the business of church just
fine. We have our corporate
head offices, CEOs, boards of directors, top and mid level managers, all
of whom are called by various names.
Strategic plans are issued from head office to local affiliates
who comply or move on.
Church does have a head office, but it's not on earth. It's in heaven.
Some suggest that Jerusalem
was the headquarters of the early church, but I don't see it that way.
I don't see evidence of "translocal authority" based in
apostles, especially Paul. taught a simple framework for church. A caring
body of elders, with helpers called deacons, would shepherd God's flock
in any given locality. (1 Timothy 3 and elsewhere)
Each community of believers was autonomous.
Each community's elders would come to a common strategic consensus
after hearing from the Holy Spirit and those
they cared for. (Acts 13:1-3) Communities
of believers were joined to one another only by the Holy Spirit, a common
faith, and functional relationships between individuals in these communities.
you think "apostolic authority" as seen in the New Testament
is translocal and hierarchical, you should carefully read Paul's
second letter to the Corinthians. It
clearly shows that Paul's authority did not stem from a hierarchal chain
of authority based in Jerusalem or Antioch. His authority was given
him by Jesus (Galatians 1:1,11 and,12) and was demonstrated in a spirit of
humble servitude. Apostolic
authority had more to do with doctrinal purity than dictating strategic
plans to local autonomous communities of believers.
all this, the New Testament teaches that church is the Body of Christ.
It's a living organism, not a static organization.
Like cells in our physical bodies that divide and multiply for
the health of our bodies, so it is with individuals and communities in
the Body of Christ. From
street to street, town to town, region to region, this living organism
divided and crept its way across the landscape, creating new communities of
believers along the way. The
fact that the Body of Christ is meant to be a living organism, in constant cellular
division, tells me that church should always be in "start-up
mode". Church was never
meant to be cemented into well established self serving institutions.
with start-up companies this analyst spoke of, strategic plans for
church comes from a common consensus among a plurality of local elders
who hear from the Holy Spirit and those they care for.
It might be a slower process than simply dictating orders
from head office, but that's the way cell division works; the way living
organism spread. It takes 7 years for
every cell to reproduce itself in
our physical bodies.
admit the first generation church was just getting off the ground, so it
had to be in "start-up mode".
I still ask, as I've done for 4 decades now, "does the New
Testament teach church to be evolutionary in nature or does it set forth
a specific ecclesiastical framework for us to emplement"?
If the New Testament permits church to evolve beyond what Paul,
Peter, and the rest taught, then what we have today is fine, but if it
doesn't, we must rethink church in light of the Biblical
mandate. I see a clear
framework for church in the pages of the New Testament, a framework that
is seldom taken seriously.