We are not a business.
This is a hard thing for some people to understand when it comes to the church. Unlike most non-profit organizations, we do not operate on business principles.
As hard as published and often highly respected people try to convince you otherwise, businesses exist to pay the salaries of the employees and the bills of the corporation. If you make MORE money, then someone gets paid more or bills get bigger, assets swell. This is the function of business – the core of what it is.
A non-profit may not make a ‘profit’ but it often pays the CEO and board quite handsomely. (Don’t get me started on some of the bogus non-profits out there!)
This is not the church. The church is not a business.
When it comes to thinking about programming and structure, we have to approach it from a specifically and intentionally NON-BUSINESS perspective.
People are not our consumers; they are our fellow human beings. Salvation is not a commodity; it is a necessary gift, a divine blessing. Ministry is not our strategy to ‘get’ more people and preaching is not about ‘appealing’ to people.
And, in our current context, the potential merger of the congregations of Heritage and Grace is not so we can ‘get’ more people or ‘have’ more programs. It is not to guarantee the staff’s salaries or to ensure that we have the most up-to-date equipment and facilities. We are not bringing businesses together because it makes good business sense.
We are not taking two bodies and trying to make them one – that just produces a monster. We are bringing together parts of the same body that have been separated. (Don’t ask me to make an analogy in human experience. I can’t think of one!)
We must approach relationships with this understanding. We must expunge the ideas of ‘us’ and ‘them’ from our vocabulary and our minds. From DAY 1, we are THE CHURCH, OUR CHURCH, WE THE CHURCH. We must work to remove the barriers that say “GBC” and “HBC.” While these names carry a great legacy, they are just labels we human beings have placed on components of Christ’s body.
We are one body already. This is the outgrowth of understanding Christ’s prayer of John 17 as our uniting influence. If we begin thinking this way and make this clear distinction from the business world, we will not expect a business merger but the unification of the Holy Spirit.