I work in the aerospace manufacturing industry for a large aerospace corporation.
As with most large corporations, and I suppose with most businesses in general, we have a Corporate Vision Statement. This is a set of long term goals that the CEO and other executive leaders use to lead the company. It usually includes financial goals, growth goals, safety goals, production goals, and many other goals. These goals are passed down the ladder with each manager taking a piece of the goal and assuring his/her department fulfills the corporate goals.
A business needs to have a plan to be successful and it’s in each employees interest to help the corporation to fulfill the goals. Any employee not willing or unable to help the corporation fulfill the corporate goals by performing his/her job properly is considered expendable and is usually let go. In other words, if you are an employee of a company and you don’t want to, or are unable to do the job you have been hired for, it would be better for both you and the company to find another job.
I have endured hours of meetings and been trained and conditioned for over 20 years to be a good employee of a large corporation and to be loyal to fulfilling the company’s goals. An employee of a large corporation has very little voice. I see the silliness, wastefulness, and laziness of large corporations. I have literally spent years of my life performing tasks that were created merely because of the “ego matches” between department managers.
I say all of this to say that I know the “feel” of being the employee of a large corporation. I know what it means to be a number among many, and just a pawn in someone’s larger vision. This same look and feel is what I see in much of the American Church these days.
I see a board of directors and a CEO (pastor and church council) establishing a set of corporate goals. Goals that establish programs such as deliverance ministries, half price food distribution, and financial peace training. Goals to “reach out” to the community by holding craft sales, end of school parties and fall festivals. Attendance goals, financial goals, building goals.
I see far too many churches thinking that people are the “machines” used for the church to fulfill it’s goals in much the same way that a corporation would use machines and equipment to manufacture things.
Machines use electricity, though. In the church today people are motivated by “using your spiritual gifts for God” or “living your life with purpose”. While I certainly advocate seeking God’s direction for our lives, I see far too much of this as being the carrot dangled in front of the average churchgoer in order to motivate him/her to “get with the program”.
The problem with this type of church culture is that life happens. Sooner or later we stumble. Sooner or later we have hurts. Someone in our family dies. Someone gets deathly ill. Someone finds out their spouse is cheating. Someone loses their home. The list of life’s problems goes on and on. If we’re using the church to fulfill a “vision statement”, people no longer are personal.
The first time we need to drop a church “program” to be with sick relatives or spend a little more time with an elderly parent or because we are just plain old tired because we are working 60-hour workweeks just to eek out a living, suddenly our spirituality is in question. Others think our relationship with God is on the rocks because we aren’t putting the hours at all of the numerous church events. Rather than moving alongside their fellow Christian to help them make it through a rough spot in life, the fellow church member is held at arms length because they aren’t “with the vision”. I know. I’ve been there.
I’ve grown weary of church feeling too much like my job.
I want to talk about God.I want to fellowship with others as we talk about God. I want to be a part of corporate prayer to God. I want to hear scripture read publicly. I want to engage in evangelism with others who are excited about the gospel. I just want for church to be about growing in a relationship with God.
I no longer want church to feel like I’m being used to fulfill someone’s corporate vision.