• LES HENSON

Bureaucracy and the Church

Les Henson


The church faces many issues as it strives to remain faithful to its Lord. Maybe one of the most significant is the tendency of the institutional church to develop far-reaching bureaucratic systems of administration. Such systems are conspicuous by their devotion to rules and regulations that favour hierarchy instead of the people they are called to serve. They produce a hierarchical system of authority and a multitude of specialists who can easily supplant the people of God and hinder their creativity. All this leads to the proliferation of even more officials and the growth of officialdom within the church. They often become administrations marked by anonymity and develop a perfunctory communication style, which is devoid of clarity and personal warmth. In saying this, we must recognise that the church is always subject to bureaucratic forces. The danger is that it can easily develop structures that are at odds with the kingdom of God unless we continually resist such pressure. However, success ought not to be found in imitating the organisational structures and managerial practices of industry or business, but rather in recognising our unique calling as the people of God. So let us guard against the bureaucratisation of the church lest we lose our true identity and mission in the world.

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