The qualities that govern our life together as a church community may in many cases seem to run counter to the qualities that predominate in most of the organizational structures that are taken for granted as normative in the world outside the church.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to be a counter-cultural people in our personal lives. This should be no less true in the organizational structural life of the church. It would be odd if the church which calls us to be distinct from the world in the way we live as individuals, suddenly became a mirror image of the world in the way we operate as an institution. So our guidelines for operating as a church, may seem odd in the eyes of the world:

8. We seek to operate with a spirit of mutual respect and gentleness believing that the Spirit never pushes, demands, or manipulates.

We understand that we operate in a most life-giving way when we communicate clearly and operate as transparently as possible. We know however that churches, when they seek to follow the surprising Spirit, are inherently messy organizations.

We do not operate under strong domineering centralized leadership or a simple hierarchical chain of command. So, we acknowledge that communication at times is imperfect and we rely upon forgiveness and grace to carry on in our life together when we get it wrong or fail to communicate adequately.

We trust the basic good intention of most people. We believe, most people are doing the best they can.

  1. We hope to avoid any sense of urgency or pressure. There are few ditches worth dying in.

We believe that intensity, drama, and tension are seldom signs that the Spirit is at work. When we find such qualities beginning to manifest among us, we are committed to stopping, stepping, back, taking a deep breath, and trying to see more deeply what is really going on.

  1. At times our life together may be a bit messy and unpredictable; but we believe that mess and surprise are more often signs of life than the tidiness, predictability, and illusion of safety that characterize the surface of organizations that are too tightly structured and too rigidly controlled.

Our process may at times unfold more slowly than we might wish. But we seek to move forward with patience and humility rather than in ways that may cause anyone to feel they are being pushed in a direction they do not feel genuinely called to go.

Paul gave a stern challenge to the church when he wrote to the Christians in Rome that those “who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” (Romans 15:1)

The onus of responsibility for making the community work lies with those “who are strong”. So we desire to accommodate ourselves to the needs of those who are weak and acknowledge when our attachment to getting our way or satisfying our personal wishes and desires may hinder the spirit of openness and flexibility that are essential to the well-being of our community.

Above all we seek to operate under the banner of Colossians 3:14 in which we are instructed to:

Above all, clothe yourselves with love,
which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

 

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