I have long been fascinated by the development of movements. I read a book a while back called “Starfish and the Spider” that completely ruined my life (in a good way), and have consistently found myself wrestling with the tension about the difference between movements and institutions.
An example from the book was Alcoholics Anonymous. At a certain point in the beginning days, the founder of AA was facing the decision to build up strong holds and make AA a more central organization. But he didn’t do that and I’ve met tons of people around the globe who are free from the grips of alcohol abuse as a result.
I rather like that approach.
However… I do see benefits of both options. For instance, a massive church in the US designed a pretty sweet online Bible tool that has been pretty amazing for me personally (youversion.com via LifeChurch.tv). But there are some people whose names you’ll never hear about who have planted thousands of church across Africa and tons of people have found Jesus because of that movement.
I see our work here walking between movement and institution. On one hand, there is a growing community beginning to gather in regular rhythms for our own formation as a ministry unit. I like the development that is happening here. I’d love more diversity to continue coming through. At the same time, however, this group that congregates in this monastic fashion is finding itself in many other social networks around Guateng (our province/state). As we live our lives in these networks, we’ve been invited to help plant more and more of our core DNA in these spaces. Thus, we’ve been cracking at the seems with how many people we’re ministering to with training and coaching.
I get this “harvest is ripe, workers are few” vibe that Jesus was talking about. Bring it on!
(For further reading about what we’re talking about here, pick up a copy of “Celtic Way of Evangelism“)