Thursday, April 19, 2012

Opening Up

This post is a follow up of the post on April 11, 2012 regarding the access of information available to our champions. A result of all this information being available we looked at the fact that the ministry agency/ church, now must put the information into context rather than just add more information to the pile.

The result of information being accessible is a desire (spoken or unspoken) of those who come to the church or the agency in order to serve to be part of an open system. So this begs the question, what is an open system?

For starters it turns the ‘seating arrangement’ around so that now the champion/donor/volunteer is the ‘performer’. Our friend Eric Foley describes it as allowing the champion to be on stage not the agency. So the focus changes from us to them.

An open system demands cooperation rather than exclusion.

An open system of ministry integrates the lay worker and professional worker in a way the recipients may not see the difference.

An open system is one of partnership not individualism.

I have grown up in systems that are not only closed systems, but also teach close systems. The issue is we live in a world that longs for open systems. It is not an easy switch but it must be made. Thankfully, in my limited experience, I am seeing many ministries I work with and several around me see the value of opening the ministry system to be inclusive and cooperative.

You know when Guttenberg printed the Bible the Church was forced into rethinking the dispersing of God’s Word. No longer did just the priest have the Bible. The Bible could now be in the hands of the lay person and they could gain knowledge without the Church. I am sure that was a scary shift for every priest. But who wants to go back to that. Praise the Lord we all have access to God’s Word.

Let’s see the shift in today’s information age with excitement not with fear. If we allow our ministry to shift from a close system were just the ‘pros’ do the work to an open system, we can be part of this new era of a ministry reformation.

What would an open system look like for your ministry?

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