Why does this organisation exist? This is a question of purpose and is the best question that any organisation can constantly ask …
It is purpose that anchors the vision, strategy and actions of an organisation. When an organisation plans where it wants to go, how it will get there and what it must do to move from the now to the not yet there will always be a need to start with the simple question of why? The why question generates answers that align the vision, strategy and action of an organisation. The stronger the alignment the healthier the organisation. Alignment provides clarity of identity, robust decision making and enhances a sense amongst staff and volunteers that they are “in it together”. In essence people attach meaning to their work if it is clear why they are doing what they do.
If we push this into the church context there is the obvious why question which seems to be increasingly harder to answer in this day and age. For some movements and denominations there is clarity and value to be found in rediscovering their purpose. A mainline church in Australia states clearly that the reason why it exists is to:
· provide for the worship of God,
· proclaim the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ,
· promote Christian fellowship,
· nurture believers in the Christian faith,
· engage in mission,
· assist in human development and toward the improvement of human relationships,
· meet human need through charitable and other services and
· do such other things as may be required in obedience to the Holy Spirit.
These purposes are incredibly inspiring in their substance and clarity. After all, who wouldn’t want to be a part of a church that says this is why they exists?
The beauty is that I am already a part of the church who declares that this is why it exists! These purposes belong to the Uniting Church in Australia. They are articulated in paragraph 4 of the Uniting Church in Australia’s Constitution.
After 40 years, it is time for the Uniting Church in Australia to renew the alignment of its life with these purposes. A renewing of these purposes as the anchor for the vision, strategy and actions of Congregations, Presbyteries, all the missional activities of Synods and the Assembly would regenerate the identity and capacity of the Uniting Church in Australia. There has never been a more important time for this Church or for our nation to know why we exist.
Rev Nigel Rogers
Dean of Formation and Dispersed Learning