“Every system is perfectly designed to achieve exactly the results it gets.”*
“Culture trumps everything.”**
With Bishop Morales’s call to intentionally seek first the Kingdom of God, I’m feeling challenged concerning our system and culture at Epiphany. And I hope our whole diocese is feeling that challenge.
Do our systems achieve Kingdom results?
Do the cultures of our church and our diocese seek the Kingdom first, or do they seek after their own things first, trumping the moves of the Kingdom?
I’m not the only one asking these questions, so we started Voices. We intend for the blog posts in this section to be a place to ask ourselves tough questions, to process our ideas and experiments, and to push forward. We want to experience results that are clearly from God and His reign among us. We want a culture that seeks God and His reign, never trumping what God wants to do among us.
My own thoughts?
First, I want to be able to identify the signs of the God’s Kingdom. Jesus speaks of seeking first God’s Kingdom instead of worrying about provision. The Kingdom is a place of all provision. Jesus demonstrated the Kingdom through his acts: healing, deliverance, reconciliation, grace and truth, power, maturity, and growth.
Next, I think we’ve heard plenty about mission, but I observe systems (actions and decisions) that are oppositional to mission: decline management and working in maintenance mode. Such systems bury their talents. Because past performance is the best indicator of future performance (in other words: culture trumps everything), I’m not expecting those systems to change.
Therefore, I want to know about the places in our diocese where the Kingdom is sought and its signs are present. Peeling back a layer, I want to know what systems and culture distinctives are inviting the Kingdom, not trumping it. I want to know what works.
As a diocese, let’s share what works. We all need to hear about it. Let’s also ask some hard questions. Let’s allow ourselves to be challenged and allow ourselves to grow. Let’s seek first God’s Kingdom, share what we’re thinking, and share what happens.
If you have a story to share or question to process, email me so we can post it. God is at work in our churches. We all need to hear about it. And we all need ears to listen.
*Attributed to Dr. Don Berwick, past president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement
** Rev. Cn. Tony Baron, D.Min., Psy.D., Azusa Pacific Seminary