Tim Burns featured as a Guest Blogger

Check out Tim’s latest blog entry, as a guest on http://www.devodiva.com/


Business Management, Organizational Culture and the Christian Church Connection

Allow me to back up a few steps before launching the next series of articles and reinforce the foundation for this blog.  Paul said “Let no man lay another foundation other than that which has been laid, which is Christ.” (1 Cor 3.11)  So I want to ensure readers that as I venture into discussions of organizational culture and business management theory, I haven’t departed from the foundation, which is Christ in you, and our responsibility to bring and live Christ to the world.

Our only foundation is Christ. He is the Word of God and the Truth, attributes which never change.  I believe that as we apply God’s word to life, we not only find the truth in spiritual reality, but also in cultural reality, relational reality, personality reality.  I believe that God wrote the instruction manual on how to get to heaven and also how to live an abundant, fulfilling life in every arena.

So, when I read Tom Peters discussion about thinking outside the box, I relate recall Jesus use of parables (approaching spiritual issues from a different point of view) in order to make an impact on his listeners.  When I listen to Zig Ziglar, Norman Vincent Peale and my favorite motivational speaker Brian Tracy, discuss changing your life by changing your thoughts, I remember Paul’s principle from scripture. In 1 Thessalonians the church is encouraged to “think on these things, whatsoever is lovely, praiseworthy, of good report” and the peace of God will keep your hearts and mind in Christ.

I could continue, and quote Covey, Canfield, Dyer, and more.  Instead I will get to the point.  Principles that have transforming power, and positively affect individuals and organizations in the world often (most often) have roots in the Truth of God’s Word.  Truth that affects individuals in the work place through positive relationships is often truth proceeds from God’s Word.  Inversely, when we find principles that are genuinely transforming businesses, relationships and organizations in the marketplace, they are often based on God’s word and can successfully be applied to the community which is the Church, and the organization which is the local church in order to bring positive Christ-centered transformation.

I realize that what I just wrote may be considered as heresy by some Christian purists.  Let me assure you, I am a fundamentalist as I read God’s word.  I believe all of God’s Word applies to us. As believers we must accept the authority of scripture in personal application if we are to live up to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  At the same time, I have learned to find God’s Truth, living examples of the truth of his Word, in the world around us, and sometimes unknowingly taught in the odd places.

In conclusion, as you read the next weeks’ posts, the focus is Christ.  When I highlight a church, and what they are doing to become a prevailing, transformational presence in their community, the purpose of the article is not to duplicate that church. Rather, the focus is how this church applies God’s Truth, and what of their living example of God’s word can apply to your church, ministry, or organization.

Paul chided the Corinthian’s regarding their desire to affiliate themselves with a local pastor, or apostle.  “I follow Paul, I follow Apollos.” (1 Cor 3.1-16) So as I highlight the Reveal study from Willow Resources or any of 4 churches over the next month, the purpose is Christ.  The Focus is Christ.

The thesis question is “How can you and I be more like Christ, and create the Church for which He calls us?  Others are doing ‘XYZ’ and seeing God move in their midst. What can I learn from God and from those who are succeeding at that which I seek to accomplish?”

Questions, Cultures, Models and Assumptions

When you consider a ministry’s effectiveness, the questions you ask will be of more importance than any other factor.  Your questions must zero in on the heart of the matter, and not measure the outward appearances.  An example from scripture is Jesus’ interaction with the rich young ruler.  The man’s outward status wasn’t the issue. Neither was the amount of money he could give to the local church. Jesus put his finger on the pulse when he asked the man to give up everything to follow Him.  The amount wasn’t important. What was important was that the influential ruler abandon that which was his source of status in order to identify himself with Christ.

An example from the world outside of the church – If I were wearing rose colored glasses and you asked me what color the sky was on a given day, my answer would be affected by my point of view, those issues (in this example my glasses) to which I am attached. In this case, my answer would not be an accurate reflection of the sky’s true color.

All of this is to say – If you are engaged building a transformational church, ministry, or para-church organization, being able and willing to detach yourself from what is important to you, and ask questions that reach for the heart of a matter is central to the success of building a biblical, transformational, prevailing ministry.

I don’t believe that size or the amount of a church’s budget is the issue, or the measuring stick that is important to heaven.  I don’t believe that the particular denomination, or the worship style or theological paradigm is central to the Jesus’ goals. Yet how often do we read about these measuring sticks in contemporary Christian publications.  Like Christ, I believe we must look beyond those measuring sticks which are easily quantified, and like his interaction with the rich ruler we must abandon those things which identify us, and reach for the heart of the matter.

Here is the Heart of the Matter: A growing, transformational, prevailing ministry is Christ-centric, and is teaching, modeling, equipping and releasing its people to be Christ-centric influencers of their world.

When we look at Christ’s example, his encounter with different individuals was taylored to the person, and was meant to create in intimate encounter with Him.  He treated the rich ruler differently than the Pharisees, and Nicodemus who came to him at night seeking differently than the woman dragged to his feet in broad daylight.  Yet each encounter moved the person to engage Himself – personally, intimately, and uniquely based on the person’s own needs.

Over the next few weeks, I will be interviewing a number of ministries which are exercising unique levels of influence in their own communities.  These ministries have been chosen because they fit the descriptions of “transformational, culturally influential, and Christ-centric.” They have not been chosen because they are unique, emergent, contemporary, traditional or matching any other easily defined measurement.

The Heart at Home:  Our call is to be Christ-centric, to engage the culture, and see it transformed into his image. (Matt 5.13-16) This process can only begin if we are transformed ourselves into His image, likeness, character, personality, taking his priorities on as our own.  (It may be in your ministry that this is your starting point) However, lessons on discipleship and holiness will be left for another day, and other blogs.

The next few interviews here in Ministry in Motion will be with ministries which have accepted this call, and having been transformed themselves are seeking to affect transformation of their members, and the community around them.  Stay tuned.  This conversation will get interesting.  And as always, I invite your feedback.

We are called to change the world. (Matt 28.18-20)

How effective is your ministry carrying out that goal? (2 Cor 5.17-21)

Ask this question of our Lord, and let him honestly reply with conviction, encouragement and instruction into your heart. (2 Tim 3.16-17)

Together, let’s look at others who are prevailing, and learn from their faithfulness. (Prov 14.18-20)

Tim Burns