Someone once said that “Every institution at the core is less spiritual than you think.” They didn’t just mean business or non-profit organizations, but institutions like Christian ministries, churches, and denominations. The good things about being big are expanded resources, better funding, and greater possibilities.
But in my experience, “big” can also mean slow, complacent, lethargic, and afraid of risk. When successful organizations grow, they too often stop being nimble and open to change.
Instead they start defending the status quo, and fight change at every level. I’ve seen churches that begin in a living room that were vibrant, innovative, and original. But as they grew, they started creating policies, manuals, and directives. They created an administration, paperwork, and procedures. The fire that burned in the small group, was extinguished as they grew. They went from “innovative” to “institutional.”
If you’re fortunate enough to grow, be on guard. Protect the core values that made you great and formed your unique identity. Value risk.
People of faith have always impacted culture the best when they operated from the fringe.
The early church overcame the Roman empire, but as they became institutional throughout Europe, they died. Be very careful when a church or ministry becomes an institution.
Have you had that experience?