Movements and organizational control

LeninOct1917.jpg

Some good questions from a mate ministering in Eastern Europe on movements.

To Steve

Had a question about your book. You talked p88 onwards about Methodist/Baptist growth. You mention on p 91 that the Methodists were centrally controlled but the Baptists were autonomous. You then say that both actually planted self governing congregations because the methodist pastors didn't stick around to lead the churches as they did their circuits. In our denomination's early history the tithe went to the central organization because they didn't know where the pastor was. I thought the Methodists still had central control even though the local church had lay leadership.

Max

To Max

Practically the local Methodist churches ran themselves, while the circuit riders kept moving

There was a central governing body, but try exercising strict control when you're hundreds of miles away without a telephone or highways especially in remote communities.

If you can control it, it's not a movement.

Steve

To Steve

The communists in both Russia and china seemed to do quite well in creating movements both politically, militarily and culturally - "the longest journey starts with one step" and also seemed to control things quite emphatically. Do you really comfortable in defining movements as something you can't control?

Max

To Max

The communists ended up with strong central control but by that stage it was not a movement but a totalitarian regime.

In the early phase the Russian revolution was a mish-mash of overlapping networks and movements.

Eventually the Bolsheviks under Lenin gained control and began wiping out their centre and right-wing opponents and imposed central control. Two months after the revolution the Cheka (secret police) was created by Lenin and the Bolshevik's consolidated their power leading to decades of stagnation and oppression.

Anyway I'm not sure the Communists are a good role model for us.

We must keep asking, "What did Jesus do?" and "What does the church as a missionary movement look like in the book of Acts?"

It's not a free-for-all, but it doesn't come close to central control and coordination. A lot of the time the apostles are trying to keep up with what God is doing on the fringes of expansion. We cannot contain the Word and the Spirit, our job is to try and keep up.

Steve