Earlier this month I blogged that one of my New Year dreams was to lead a movement not an organisation. Recently I’ve heard plenty of talk about the need for a ‘Baptist movement’ which poses the question what do I/we mean by movement, particularly when used in distinction to organisation or institution?
A movement is a group of people with a common ideology, working together to pursue their shared interest. Inherent in this is the desire for change or development (a movement towards).
So talk about a baptist movement needs to encompass three elements. First, a sense of which group of people are in mind: those who attend Baptist churches, or a subset who ascribe to a particular vision of the future? Second, some understanding of the shared ideology and values which hold these people together. Third, some agreed objectives of the change intended.
When we speak of movement to contrast it with institution we ought not to be anticipating that there will be no organisation or settled pattern of doing things. Indeed any movement will need to engage in activities and tactical / strategic processes to move people towards its goals. Such movement requires resources that need to be planed, organised and controlled, and people who need to be motivated and encouraged. Rather we are anticipating that the structures will be as light and flexible as possible, based on networks not hierarchies, and that these structures and patterns will be limited so that it they only do things which directly help us achieve the goals.
So if I (and others) want to talk about a Baptist movement we have some work to do articulating the values we think we share, explaing the dreams / goals we are aiming for and spelling out what organisational resources are need to enable these changes.