Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How an Organization Can Hinder Spontaneous Expansion of the Church

Already discussed in my last post was the inherit differences that are presented by modern day missions with that of the early church. Today I want to continue on with some issues that Allen points out can hinder the spontaneous expansion of the church due to these organizations.

Through the creation of missionary organizations comes a lot of baggage be it necessary or not. Quickly one finds the need for offices and departments, directors, accountants, etc. The larger an organization becomes the more likely it has the tendency to become an end in itself. As Allen puts it, "Men incline more and more to rely upon it: they learn to ascribe to it virtues which do not belong to it."

Here are three things that Allen points out that often happen:

(1) There is a horrible tendency for an organization to grow in importance till it overshadows the end of its existence, and begins to exist for itself.

  • The maintenance of the organization has become a greater incentive to work than the purpose for which it was first created.
  • Suppose that it were indubitably clear that the end for which all these organizations exist would be best served by the elimination of some of them, or by their fusion: would their directos be ready to serve the cause for which the organizations were founded by destroying them?
  • Imagine one of our great missionary organizations losing itself to further the cause for which it exists!
(2) Our love for organization leads us to rely upon it.

  • The direction often becomes mechanical, and as it becomes mechanical the organization ceases to produce the results expected.
  • Give us more money and more men and the propagation of the Gospel will advance in proportion.
  • This attitude shows that they are beginning to rely upon the organization to do the work.
(3) Not only does our love of organization lead us to expect from it spiritual results, it also leads us to ascribe to it results which do not belong to it.

  • The tendency is to believe that the great success of our modern missionary work is due to our splendid organization, while history shows that it has been attained without such organization.
  • To insist, then, that our missionary organization is essential for the continuity of that work which we do in foreign lands, and to ascribe the continuity of that work to the organization, is to ascribe to our work a particular character as being in itself lifeless.

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