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Have you ever been part of a Movement? A Mission? A Cause? Perhaps you have been an initiator of a sweeping change to something that has been the same for generations. Or perhaps you were part of a small group that started something brand new. Maybe it was at school, at work or in an association of people that was important to you. When the movement gained momentum, you made the time for it in your life. You looked for and discovered the energy necessary to contribute to the goals of the Movement. You were motivated, and you found others equally inspired. You discovered you were able to bring people on board because of your enthusiasm and conviction. Camaraderie developed among the group. You enlisted important people who helped spread the word and networked well beyond your own influence. The new idea or the changes you sought began to appear.

You then noticed that a certain amount of organization was needed. Perhaps finances had to be accounted for. Systems of communication had to be set up. As the tasks to accomplish the Mission were divided among the core group, a leadership evolved. Once the initial goal was accomplished, the leaders redesigned the organization so that the work would go on. The Organization took on a name and a mission statement. Soon the Organization became powerful. It had a public face and voice. It expressed the opinion of the membership in order to protect or assert the Organization’s point of view. Perhaps you didn’t notice as the Organization took a good deal of your time and energy. The Mission spread among more and more people until it became accepted by a majority of the community.

After a time, perhaps short, the Organization became so entrenched in people’s minds that it no longer served as a catalyst for change, but an anchor for the status quo. It was an Institution, which functioned more to protect itself and maintain its wealth than to further the original goal of the Movement.

Such can be the life of a church.

But it need not play out this way. The New Church is said to be “the crown of all churches which have hitherto existed.” The Lord’s New Church is a Movement and a Mission that the Lord is promulgating upon the earth. He has invited us to be a part of the process.

If we rely only on our human understanding, our will, our energy, goals and leadership, our church may follow this typically human path. Or we can continue to keep the Word as the source of our Movement. We can put the Lord in charge of the vision and the planning. We can consider Him the source of the energy necessary to keep us going. We can check our organizing principles, our programs, our traditions and our rituals against the standards revealed in His Word. They are there. It is our task to search them out.

We need to discover ways to put the Lord in charge and we need to then design activities that fulfill His Mission. We might have to look a second (and third, and fourth… ) time at what we are doing in order to clean our spiritual lens of the colors of tradition, comfort, attitude and inertia (the Institutional View, if you will!).

Let me know any ideas you have about cooperating with the Lord to further this Movement. Together we can gather a group of like-minded individuals, ready to be inspired by a vision from the Lord for His church on earth.

Precursor May 2004 

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