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Oct 10, 2005


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Dave Hackett

Of great value in this discussion would be adding the insight (originally developed I believe by a teaching pastor at Willow Creek) that every church is - concurrently - cause, corporation and community. (Google the three words to view the reams of writings based on this concept.)

Churches are "causes" in that we advocate God's mission, and live and die to promote it. Individual concerns are weighted less than the cause's.

Churches are "corporations" in that we soon realize we need planning, budgeting, and organization to sustain over time; a cause soon peters out if the corporation-side doesn't emerge somewhere. Community values must yield to corporation decisions, which give organization to the community and allow it to fulfill its purposes.

Finally, churches are "communities" in that we resemble families who tend to the weakest member. A family vacation ("cause") is sacrificed if even the smallest baby is too small to undertake it.

All three must be present, while all three are in tension with each other. It adds to the mystery of the Church that it is at once cause, community and corporation.

Dave Hackett

Michael Kruse

Thanks for this 3 C typology, Dave. It seems to me that the two big tensions I encounter are A) between being a movement and having structure and B)between being the church gathered and being the church in dispersion. With both of these it is like asking which is more important, inhaling or exhaling? This gets back to my post on Sep 27 about Polarity Management.


I haven't seen this 3 C concept before but is very helpful.

Of course, this all begs the question of which cause, what type of corporation, and what kind of community? It seems our mission or cause should drive the rest.

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