Posted by: pastordarren | May 21, 2009

Maintenance Versus Mission

Reverend Dick Hamm, a former General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), has written a book entitled, Recreating the Church: Leadership for the Postmodern Age.  This is a wonderful and challenging book to all leaders and churches in today’s world.  Below is an short excert from the book that has been copied from blog from Columbia Partnership.

Maintaince Vs. Mission in Congregations

In his book, Recreating the Church: Leadership for the Postmodern Age, Dick Hamm says the following about maintenance versus mission in congregations:

“Where is an institution on the ‘maintenance versus mission’ continuum? Organizations that lean toward the maintenance end of the continuum are most often driven by anxiety. Maintenance becomes the mission.”

“Organizations focused on maintenance tend to spend most of their time, energy, and other resources in self-preservation.”

“Organizations focused on maintenance tend to see even traditional aspects of the mission through the lens of maintenance.”

“Such a maintenance-oriented church will not attract younger people: they will be attracted by a congregation’s sincere desire to live and share the gospel and to meet the needs of people.” [63-64]

Read more: http://colapartnership.posterous.com/maintenance-versus-mission-in-congregations#ixzz0Fy56VjQD&B

As I think about this, I realize that there is always some maintance that will need to happen in a church.  Either with the building and facilities, the ‘offices’ and governance, etc. but what I believe Rev. Hamm is saying is that too often we focus on maintaince to the detriment of the mission of the church, which is to go and make disciples.  When maintance becomes the mission, we have lost sight of what we are called to be in the world.

Some will say that we have to maintain our building, facilities, structure, etc. inorder to have a church to do the mission.   There is some truth to that, but when it becomes our focus and meaning for being, then we are missing God’s call.

Rev. Hamm also talks about several other polarities with in the church, including finance vs. stewardship; withholding vs. granting authority; management vs. vision; pragmatism vs. core values; membership vs. discipleship; dependancy vs. capacity; control vs. empowerment; and democracy vs. discernment.  I hope to share with you some thoughts from the book and my own mind in the next few days about these polarities and how Rev. Hamm and others see them in the church.

I would be interested in your thoughts, especially about maintenance vs. mission.

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