Can we fulfill the mission by giving up the organization?

Resurrection Downtown

A historic church in downtown Kansas City, Mo., turned over its building to the thriving United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. (UMNS photo by Fred Koenig)

I am a part of multiple membership organizations. Each strives to strengthen its members and each relies on those members to continue the organization.

Sometimes, though, we must give up the organization in order to maintain the mission of building up the membership.

This can be seen in a variety of service and learning clubs, churches and even sub-groups within churches. When the membership no longer has the energy to maintain the organizational structure, it is better to give up the structure than to force the members to expend so much energy that they end up burning out and giving up on the mission completely.

Organizations should not expect a small number of people to do all the work of organizational maintenance, particularly when the mission of the organization is to support those same people who it is expecting to do all of the work. An organization cannot support a person, when that person basically IS the organization.

How, then, will the people find support without the organization?

Most of the organizations I am referring to have multiple branches. When one branch folds, another takes on its work.

Let those who need a break from being a leader join with another group that already has leadership. In this way the mission continues.

Of course, sometimes the next nearest organization with the same mission is far away. In these situations there may need to be more of an effort to maintain the organization.

Such an organization may be able to obtain some assistance from outside of their area, but it may also need to take a break and then re-organize at a later date.

I am in love with non-profit organizations, and I want to see them succeed in fulfilling their missions. However, any organization will fail if it keeps pushing its leaders until those leaders want nothing more to do with the organization.

How are you rotating leadership in your organization so that no one burns out? When have you made the decision to fold your group into another in order to continue the mission and support your members?

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One thought on “Can we fulfill the mission by giving up the organization?

  1. Just want to correct an error in the caption under the picture of Kansas City’s Historic Grand Avenue Temple United Methodist Church (GAT UMC): the GAT congregation DID NOT turn over its building to UM Church of the Resurrection (COR). On December 29, 2010, a historic date, we (one of the poorest, smallest UMC congregations in KC metro), in an All Church meeting, voted 29-to-2 to end our 1 year agreement with COR UMC (one of, or the, wealthiest, largest UMCs in USA) in which they had shared/used our building for their Sunday evening service. I am a 5 year member of GAT (formerly of COR) and was there for the vote; I won’t go into why we voted as we did.

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