Holacracy, Democracy or Theocracy

May 18, 2018 0 By Mirm

Here are some thoughts about what I heard on Thursday about the new org chart.

I know the pendulum needed to swing away from a bias of experience, which insists that the way it was done in the past must remain the blueprint for everyone. I like the move toward a more collaborative work model. I completely understand the concept behind the change in philosophy; I get the removal of “top down” and “boss” and I love the concept of a flatter power structure where everyone’s voice can be heard, a holacracy, instead of hierarchy.

I applaud flexibility and creativity in ministry models and work environments.

I am envious that now there is a better work-life balance than all the years of ministry when I felt guilty anytime I took time off.

I like the evolution of words and ideas as we redefine work to be more purposeful and intentional.

I understand that the current culture of accessible and omnipresent information means that age and education in no longer a factor in the generation of great ideas, and that age, gender and nationality are not as importance as competence and connectivity/ relevance.

Everyone can have a seat at the table – or can they?

Everyone wants the ability to make a difference. We all want choice and control. Does anyone really want grunt work over meaningful assignments?

However, some of the staff are not, by nature of our position, going to have that level of equality. While part of the staff can work from home or wherever, others are tied to a desk and a time card. While some can create community and interact whenever and wherever they want, others still are clearly in subordinate roles. And that is not the problem for me! I am okay with that reality, probably because I understand and have lived in a “top down” world, where bosses called the shots. Further, I have lived in the conservative Christian environment where it has primarily been a culture filled with age and gender discrimination, among others!

I think my issue is in not understanding how to see everything as flat in the work environment! I just don’t understand the abdication of responsibility as the leader God placed in charge to care for the flock? The proverbial “buck” has to stop somewhere! Even the Godhead has some form of hierarchy that we call Headship – why so adverse to any organization or gatekeepers? Even organisms have order, even if the structure is tangential. I totally embrace egalitarian mindset and everyone in it together, but the roles are still different by compensation and like it or not, that is based on seniority (paying dues)!

Since today’s culture was raised in a more democratic environment, where “everyone”, even kids, had input on family activities, they have learned to lead from the middle. (The fact that the practice made them entitled is another issue). While I grew up in a generation where the emphasis was on positional power, today people I work with exercise personal power based on their expertise, or at least their perceived expertise. They also like to share the load, so they wait for everyone to have a voice and ownership; this makes them come across as procrastinators or indecisive. And yet they don’t often ask “everyone” for input. It seems that the “generation gap” is once again rearing its head. When I hear staff I work with saying that anyone over 30 cannot really relate to students, I find myself being marginalized even more, so that I do not feel that my input would ever be welcome, let alone be valued. I am all on board with the “no collar” workers, but it seems that there still needs to be a balance somehow between mentors versus managers.

For me the struggle after 6 years has become:

I used to love my job. Now I endure the days.

I used to feel I was ministering to those who ministered but now I feel disrespected and ignored.

There is a wage gap. There is a generation gap. There is a gender gap.

There is a Lack of accountability and a lacking work ethic

There is a lack of definition between clergy and laity.