The Purpose Driven Organization

My buddy Sam Davidson pointed me to the following video that is both entertaining and enlightening on the movement from being profit centered to purpose centered organizations.  For those of us in church circles, it begs the question of whether our focus on “church growth” (with our profits being attendance and offerings) has led us toward a profit centered model right at the time when the world is beginning to cast aside the profit focus in the recognition that purpose must come first. I would be interested in hearing your comments about what this video brings up for you in thinking about the mission and ministry of the church. How do we enable autonomy, mastery, and purpose into the average church?

3 thoughts on “The Purpose Driven Organization

  1. Isn’t there a difference between being profit-driven and profit-mindful?

    No private enterprise can function long if it never makes a profit. It must be mindful of such things. But that does not mean it has to drive every last ounce of efficiency out of its operations.

    The video – to me – seems to confuse the need for knowledge workers and creative people to have autonomy and purpose with a critique on capitalism’s profit-motive. An entire organization can be directed toward profit while leaving ample room for individuals within it to be autonomous and creative.

    I don’t know. It’s late on Sunday and I’m a bit worn out. Maybe I’m just missing the point.

    1. John, I think there are several conversation points here for consideration. Given that most Western denominations have seen their rise and fall correspond with the rise and fall of the industrial age, I wonder if our theology hasn’t focused on a reward based system in which doing certain things mindlessly and repetitively leads toward the big enchilada of life in heaven, and the failure to conform leading to the converse punishment of hell. That is fine in a world of simplicity, but as the video suggests the language of punishment and reward has it’s limits in a world of complexity.

      The question for me is whether we want to make disciples that are creative and motivated in their following of Christ (the so called knowledge worker), people who are willing to give of themselves with abandon and who engage in the mastery of discipleship. Could it be that the reason we’ve failed in our task of leading folks toward true discipleship is that we’ve not been willing to use language and motivations that lead them to engage creatively with a deep sense of purpose? Could it be that “modern” church (including the needs based seeker movement) have been simply focused on creating simplistic widgets rather than engaged disciples, thinking that reward and punishment without autonomy and engagement is enough? Yes, I believe in obedience to the will of God, but for the most part most churches struggle to find a majority of members interested in discerning God’s will. No, they have been trained to search for easy answers (Bonhoeffer’s “cheap grace”) which supposedly leads to easy rewards, but may miss out on the abundant and full life Christ has to offer.

      1. Jay,

        Thanks for the reply.

        It strikes me that there is both fruit and thorns in using the concepts in the video to talk about discipleship. I imagine the conversation would be very useful to have, though.

        To me, at least, before we get to applying lessons of the video, though, we need to have more of the thinking your reply does about what a disciple is and what the goal of disciple-making is. All important and not simple at all.

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