Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Just a Thought (Community vs. Tools)

Many of us are familiar with the ol' "Organism vs. Organization" debate. I've been thinking a little on this today, especially about how just about every living thing in nature organizes itself around its organic identity and practice. The organization serves the organism, never the other way around.

Here's a little example... Aleta and I have houseplants (until she goes out of town, then they die). Anyway, the size and design of our pots are determined by the plants that need potting. We don't try sqeezing a big plant into a tiny pot and we don't force a plant that needs to dry out into a pot with no drain holes. It doesn't matter how much we like our pot or how much we don't want the mess of drainage when we overwater. The plant determines the pot.

From programs, to fliers, to names, to 501-3c's, to websites... it seems, in the West, we have a tendency toward working on building tools and then hoping that community forms in or around them. I know it seems obvious, but I'll say it anyway... tools should form around the needs of community, not the other way around. Organism first, then organization. (I'm preaching, in part, to myself here!)

Something else, as well, in keeping with the plant / pot analogy... Plants have a natural maximum size embedded in their DNA. After reaching maturity, they reproduce instead of growing larger and larger and requiring larger and larger pots. That seems like a pretty good little piece of wisdom for us as we invest into growing local kingdom-of-God communities.

Just a thought.

1 comment:

David said...

Good insight.
I like the plant analogy of size and then reproducing.