Organization vs. Movement vs. Philosophy

From Seth Godin:

An organization uses structure and resources and power to make things happen. Organizations hire people, issue policies, buy things, erect buildings, earn market share and get things done. Your company is probably an organization.
A movement has an emotional heart. A movement might use an organization, but it can replace systems and people if they disappear. Movements are more likely to cause widespread change, and they require leaders, not managers. The internet, it turns out, is a movement, and every time someone tries to own it, they fail.
A philosophy can survive things that might wipe out a movement and that would decimate an organization. A philosophy can skip a generation or two. It is often interpreted, and is more likely to break into autonomous groups, to morph and split and then reunite. Industrialism was a philosophy.
The trouble kicks in when you think you have one and you actually have the other.

This quote has me thinking “Church.” I read this and I instantly want to make compartments. I want to pigeon hole churches into movement (if your “hip”), organization (if you have Sunday School and can afford a pastor or two), and Philosophy (if you like coffee enjoy debates).

Here’s my question for all of you: Can churches be all 3 at the same time? Maybe you say “No.” If not, is it possible to be only 1 or 2 at a time? Or, like seasons, do churches have a tendency to move from philosophy, to movement, then finally to “arrive” as a full fledged church organization filled with workers, policies, and a building(s). Maybe then to only realize that the philosophy has changed and the movement is going in a different direction?

Note: This question is asked with no (Due or undo) cynicism or criticism of churches as organizations, and I ask that you refrain from “Church Organization Bashing.” My question is about the movement of churches through these 3 stages or realms, and I hope to hear how people have experienced this seasonal change in their own church community. 

So talk to me, I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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