Sunday, February 10, 2008

Institutionalism vs. Organizationalism

Previously I addressed the difference between an organism vs. organization. Today I’d like to share a few thoughts about organizations when compared to institutions.

Organization (def.) - an administrative and functional structure, characterized by complete conformity to the standards and requirements of an organization.

Institution (def.) a place for the care or confinement of inmates. A well-established and structured pattern of behavior or of relationships. Any established law or custom, a familiar, long-established person, thing, or practice, a fixture.

If I could distill these definitions down it would be rigid and more rigid. Recently I was considering the difference between endoskeletons and exoskeletons. Organisms that have endoskeletons are more flexible and capable of change. But organisms with exoskeletons are much more rigid. The former can be messy, giving, flexible and outward focused, while the later is ordered, ungiving, inflexible, fixed, and inward focused.

A community that is inwardly focused has developed entropy and will ultimately fail. While an outwardly focused community, while at times messy, is full of life and ultimately organic. The opposite of organic is inorganic, inert or just plain dead.

Our Lord did not die to establish a group of believers who would solidify into an institution with an exoskeleton with a hard shell for protection. A body of believers who were ungiving with their time, talents and treasures, nor inflexible in their attitudes toward a world who did not acknowledge that Jesus is Lord, nor a group of people who’s only focus was inward and what this church could do for them, personally.

No, rather Christ gave His life to develop a church that was messy but vibrant, giving and compassionate, and outwardly focused on advancing the Kingdom and loving others. A body with an endoskeleton is soft on the outside with just enough skeletal integrity to hold up the structure and allow it to function as it was designed. This type of structure allows others to get close and to establish relationships.

What a great God we served that he would choose to use broken people who are willing to morph into the people of God he wants us to be.

The entire body working together to fulfill Father’s purpose on earth.

Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,

Dr Val


Anonymous said...

Is this the same Vallen Prest from Inter City high School class of 1974?

Anonymous said...


AncientFuture Mariner said...

Dear Anonymous Friend

I hate to admit to being the Vallen Prest who graduated in 1973 (because I hate to admit I'm getting old)from InterCity Christian School in Allen Park MI

But yes I am.

Would love to know who you are and how you found this post.



Anonymous said...

Thank you for your reply. If you wish, you may email me at