When Christian organizations are imperfect
March 14, 2007
I'm a sucker for new gadget-tools, especially those amazing tool-box-in-a-single-gizmo ones. You know the kind: you flip out this arm, undo that collar, turn around the other appendage, and wonder-of-wonders, before you is a tool to fix anything.
Sometimes people who join our employ too often assume that they are entering a perfect place of Christian love and generosity where good will and happy times prevail. When they come up against grumpy supervisors, discover a pay scale less than another, and all kinds of other human realities, they resort to a variety of accusations or criticisms.
What is unfortunate is that those who believe that all will be well in a Christian organization are at times disappointed. They assume that Christian faith makes everything good and right. However, an organization is about getting something done. It is not an excuse to hire people so they can work within a Christian environment. That kind of environment is good, but it must have an end-of-the-day purpose to mount a plan.
It is not unfair or unreasonable to expect that organizations centred on the witness and life of Jesus Christ foster His kind of likeness. Nor should we downplay the importance of treating people as we expect Jesus would. And neither is it that being "human" lets us off the hook. We can't protest criticisms with an, "All well and good, but being human means we aren't perfect either!"
The issue is this. Leadership requires us to help employees understand that being "Christian" isn't a magic tool, eliminating failure or annoyance.
Beware of those who in joining "Christian" organizations simplistically assume that all is well because of faith. Disabuse them early of such notions. Take time to help them see that their own human condition is in need of the support from others who themselves need help from them. Everything has its purpose.
Father, in constructing organizations in the name of Your Son, keep us all from searching for quick and simple formulas. Help us to see You at work within others and within this group of which we are a part. May we be Your instruments of grace and mercy to each other. In Your name, Amen.
You can do everything with bayonets, Sire, except sit on them.