It occurs to me that one of the reasons that mainline denominations are in significant decline is that they are intrinsically “NO organizations.” They are not designed to be permission giving but, rather, to be permission denying. Rather than embracing a “whatever it takes” philosophy of ministry, the “never done it that way” mentality is prevalent. A friend of mine likes to say that often the most obvious solution to a problem escapes us because it is too easy and too obvious to be considered. NO organizations can’t see these answers for three basic truths prevail in their operational mindset: 1) NO organizations are reactive; 2) NO organizations use obstacles as excuses for their failure; and 3) NO organizations discourage creativity. It is time to break the cycle if we as a denomination are going to move beyond our NO organization mindset!
NO organizations are reactive not proactive. They wait for something to happen so that they can criticize it thoroughly and respond with knee jerk policy statements and self-righteous pronouncements. Reactivity is a dangerous state of existence because it means you live in constant stress. Those who are acting are always waiting on criticism and weighing their decisions on their willingness and ability to stand further assaults, often of a personal nature. For those in authority, being reactive means they spend far too much time looking for problems rather than finding solutions. Problem identification is not a spiritual gift! Any fool can find a problem; it takes a leader to find a solution.
NO organizations use obstacles as excuses rather than conquer them. They see every problem as a reason to justify their struggles not realizing they their worst enemy may, indeed, be themselves. My favorite pastor once said “problems are simply opportunities for God to bless.” NO organizations are managed by the philosophy of the path of least resistance. That path usually in characterized by mediocrity and “good enough.” There is no reward for going above and beyond the call of duty or striving for excellence. When some one tries to rise and attempt conquer problems constructively they are criticized for not following procedures or used for target practice since their heads are above the crowd. NO organizations are always looking for a target rather than team member. Any fool can criticize; it takes a leader to find a solution!
NO organizations discourage creativity. They are bound by paradigms that reward stagnation. Turf wars and entrenched methodologies discourage creative thinking. More time is spent avoiding interpersonal difficulties than actually finding solutions. The obvious solutions are ignored because they would require a change in behaviors and an embracing of new levels of creativity. Any fool can discourage; it takes a leader to creatively find solutions.
So the real key seems to be leaders who are proactive, desire to conquer obstacles and embrace creativity. How do we raise up a generation of these leaders? How do we release them to create YES organizations? God help us to live and lead boldly. I remain:
Lost in Grace,
Marty Cauley, Pastor
“You can do no great things, just small things with great love.” Mother Theresa
God who continues to say YES to me despite my failures and struggles, grant me the ability to say YES despite being surrounded by NOs. In the name of the divine YES, Jesus, I pray, AMEN.