Why This Man is Leaving the United Nations

What do you do when the organization whose mission and values you deeply believed in once is starting to fail? What do you do when multitudes are looking up to you for the much coveted positions you’ve held at the organization and yet you find yourself disillusioned by the way the organization now functions? Do you stick with the organization because everyone else would see your leaving as a waste of a good opportunity? Do you just put up with what doesn’t quite align with your values because of all the work, energy, effort, and time you’ve put into it so far?

… or, do you leave the system as a whole to express your defiant stance on the issue and let the world know how the system is not the way it used to be (or the way it looks to those who look at it from outside only)?

That’s exactly what Anthony Banbury did after working for the organization of his choice for the last 30 years.

Now, granted this is not the first time where a disillusioned, defiant UN worker has left the organization to make his stance clear, what struck me most powerfully about his statement in the NY Times article is the striking similarity I saw between the problems of the UN that Banbury pointed out in his article and some of the issues I am seeing in the church today globally:

The bureaucracy needs to work for the missions; not the other way around. The starting point should be the overhaul of our personnel system. We need an outside panel to examine the system and recommend changes. Second, all administrative expenses should be capped at a fixed percentage of operations costs. Third, decisions on budget allocations should be removed from the Department of Management and placed in the hands of an independent controller reporting to the secretary general. Finally, we need rigorous performance audits of all parts of headquarters operations.

(See full posting via the NY Times here.)

Is the global Church system of organized Christian religions suffering from not being able to discern which of the two must exist for the other — the missions for the bureaucracy, or the bureaucracy for the missions? I’d say a loud yes in a heartbeat.

In a piece titled “Why Denominations Cannot Complete the Great Commission,” David Watson writes:

The denominational education and indoctrination processes make it impossible to fulfill the Great Commission. We have come a long way from First Century illiterate fishermen entering new people groups, nations, and cities and starting a church within months and then moving on. With the loss of simplicity we lost the ability to replicate leaders quickly and move through people groups efficiently. By over training and over managing new believers we stop the process of replication that could reach a nation and a world.

Now, the Church, let us ask ourselves again and be honest about it:

Is it the bureaucracy (read: denominations) for the missions? Or the missions for the bureaucracy (again read: denominations)?

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