This post is part of our Sunday Series titled “Articles of Faith.”
We investigate leadership lessons from the Bible.
See the whole series here. Published only on Sundays.
HEALING AN ORGANIZATION: MOVE THAT BUS (…er…STONE….)
Have you ever watched that American TV reality-show series on Sunday evenings on ABC called Extreme Makeover Home Edition? This is the program where television host Ty Pennington and his crew of experts offer free home renovations for deserving families. The families are unaware of the final outcome of their home renovation until the exiting moment when Ty directs a large bus blocking the view of the new home to move out of the view of the family standing in the street.
He shouts through his megaphone with exuberant joy: MOVE THAT BUS!
The bus moves; the neighbors (who helped with the neck-breaking renovations) watch for the expressions of the family’s faces. The cameras zoom into the homeowners expressions when they can see their totally rebuilt home and the renewed surroundings appear before their eyes. Moving the bus becomes the pivotal moment of the program.
Dose of “Reality”
With tears of gratitude, the owners are overwhelmed! As the cameras follow them through each newly designed room, they see that their new home was rebuilt and equipped with fine new furnishings. There is no sparing of expense on these projects. The renovations are glorious and beyond any expectation. You can hear the family members (or easily read their lips) when they say “Oh my God” in amazement of their new reality. The wonderment is a massive dose of reality to the family members as they see something new revealed to them for the first time.
Now, this is a TV program. Something spectators watch from the distance. This “reality show” doesn’t actually involve many people when you consider the whole planet. It isn’t really “reality” for most. But something else is reality to most. Something called “your job.”
So how about a dose of spiritual reality of leadership within organizations?
In the Bible, there are stories to help one understand how to be a better person and how to be a better leader. These can be used within your organization to help people become more productive and use their skills better. In one story about the Apostle Peter, Jesus told Peter he would become fisher of men. I can picture this now; a carpenter tells a life long seasoned fisherman to use a different technique to go fishing. Right! What would be going through the man’s mind?
How would Peter use his fishing skills and his impetuous temperament to heal and teach the two lynch pins and cornerstones of Jesus’ ministry? In 1 Peter 4:17, Peter writes that we lead best when we lead from our gifts. We are to apply our gifts as though we are serving the Lord. When we do not use our talents to glorify God, we will not catch fish.
We will not be able to heal within our organizations. We need to listen and cast our nets to the other side.
Fresh and New
We are preparing for Spring. It will be obvious. The snow melts, the birds sing and flowers start to grow. We are also preparing for Easter. Easter is about new life. We experience Good Friday, we wait on Holy Saturday and finally…glorious Easter. He Is Risen. The large stone was rolled away from the tomb’s entrance, just like that bus is rolled away every Sunday night on the TV show. However, how many times one can get stuck “in the tomb” because the stone didn’t roll away and we do not have the fullness of the Risen Christ?
What if we can’t use our gifts? It is like that big bus blocking our view of a better world. The stone isn’t rolled away. How do we deal with stones or big boulders that have not been removed; obstacles to our fullness, obstacles to our Easters…even in organizations? What can we do to move those stones that block our effective use of our God-given gifts?
One of my favorite gospel readings is John 5:1-10. Basically, Jesus asks the man “do you want to get well?” and the man replies with an excuse. This is the same thing that continues to occur over and over within organizations.
At the organization, there was:
- A union/non-union clashing infrastructure
- Two different political ideologies (democracy and Marxism) co-existing with layers of rules
- Massive regulations of three interfacing government organizations
- Abusive behavior
- Little or no communication
- No trust
Talk about a boulder!
And then there were those toxic killer phrases:
“We can’t do that here…”
“We’ve tried that before…”
“That’s too radical…”
“It’s contrary to policy…”
“It’s too obvious…”
“We need more data…”
“We’re doing alright without it…”
“It won’t work…”
And even: “…We’ll pray about it…”
What Would Jesus Do? In that Scripture passage, Jesus doesn’t want a discourse. It’s a yes or no answer. Does an organization want to change (repent) [Move That Stone] so that their culture can become “whole” “healthy” and even “holy?” Or do they want to jump through some consultant’s hoops and feign a remedy? This group needed help and I was called in to fix them.
When I first studied the group to understand how to fix them, the ONLY thing this group had in common was that they all were different “flavors” of Christianity. So with this information, I had a place to start creating a prescription for organizational health. I could craft a remedy based on something that connected them, a belief in the healing power of Jesus Christ. If I had tried to fix them with standard HR methods, then there would have been no healing. This dysfunctional team needed much more to heal. Going through normal HR or training routines would simply be an exercise in futility with no ROI (and an actual deliverance of an unethical service.)
“Move That Stone!”
The Christ-centered training worked to heal this open-wounded organization! It would not have taken hold if those spirits of violence, distrust, anger, lack of unity were not bound and filled with spirits of trust, kindness, unity, and love . Good spirituality is good psychology. People were plugged into resources for intervention and help with their personal healing.
What do you think would happen to our organizations if they became whole, healthy, wealthy, but holy? Could the stones be GRIM in an organization? (stones of greed, relativism, individualism, and materialism) How would you move the stone spiritually so it would transform the organization to its fullest? As Chris Lowney states in Heroic Leadership, ”the time for the civilization of self is over.”
Knowledge is not power, applied knowledge is.
St. Jerome stated “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”
I say, “Ignorance of application of Scripture is even worse!”
Would we walk through each office cubicle, saying through eyes of gratitude “Oh my God” if the stone was removed? What would our attitude towards our company family and customers be if the stone was rolled away? As Christian leaders in the workplace, what is your responsibility to make sure that the Easter gift is continued? What are you doing to help MOVE THAT STONE?
Bonnie Lay is Owner of Acheive! International
She can be reacehed at firstname.lastname@example.org
Image Sources: upload.wikimedia.org, wilkescc.edu, crossroadsinitiative.com
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