Manipulating people for the sake of church? (Andrew Wooding)

Tuesday, 12 August, 2008

Andrew Wooding asks if we're manipulating people for the sake of church.

I've been revisiting a number of pages on the Share site recently, and was especially struck by Does the fresh expressions journey risk manipulation?

No entry to churchThe 'fresh expressions journey' is a framework offered on a number of pages on Share, but the page on 'manipulation' rightly points out the danger of treating this – and other frameworks - as formulas for success. That people will be seen as means to an end rather than having value in and of themselves.

Sounds obvious, doesn't it, but be honest: How many times have you been part of a group, a team, a community, an institution, where you have felt used or dispensible? Valued for what you can do to keep the machine going, rather than for who you are? And if you rock the boat you won't be missed, because the 'task' is far more important than the group being with you in your doubts and questions.

I am not talking in the abstract here. I have seen this far too many times, and continue to see it. To my shame, I have also in the past colluded with this sort of thing, justifying my collusion with that old 'ends justifying the means' argument.

How can leaders of fresh expressions prevent this happening? How can they retain the goal of forming church while at the same time making sure each step of the journey has its own integrity? See what you think about the suggestions on Does the fresh expressions journey risk manipulation?

About the author: 

Andrew Wooding is Share website editor.

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