“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it”  ~ Gautama Buddha

A second evolutionary development is the organizations’ relationship to its purpose. The purpose is clear and simple, not only known, but embodied by everyone. The CEO has a responsibility to articulate and live the purpose, but it is also shared within the organization. It is not a plaque on the wall or a line or a business card. It is understood. It is the reason people show up for work, the reason meetings are held and decisions made. It is core to the organization.

Are you ever overwhelmed by the energy of an organization, company or church? Often I find the faith communities I’ve been apart of to be very busy places. Not only is there a lot of activity but it seems to be going in many different directions. There is no cohesive glue that holds it together. If you have energy on an idea and can convince others to join you – start something! As long as people are engaged it is good!

At times I long for something cohesive. I read Barton’s book ‘Pursuing God’s will Together’ lately and it awoke within me that desire again to be part of something simpler, where the leadership team is clear and direct on what they are doing. A team that takes time together, to laugh and know each other, to study and pray, to come to trust each other, to challenge each other. Together they move forward in a shared purpose.


Many years ago I was part of a ministry that had a simple vision statement, one we could articulate, recruit leaders around and implement on a regular basis. We studied and prayed together. We disagreed and reconciled. We were very focused on a simple purpose. I’m also aware it was a very structured, hierarchical ministry. Along with a strong vision statement came a clear organizational model.

Is it possible to be focused in traditional ministry? I’m not sure. The local churches I’ve been a part of are complex, historical, hierarchical organizations. Yes, there is a shared faith, and sharing/growing in faith is what they claim to be about, however there is politics, theatre, history and egoism embedded in community life.

Contemplative Fire is young. People self-select in coming. There is nothing gained socially or culturally around attendance. It was created with a purpose. Over the six years I’ve tended it in Canada it has expanded, contracted and expanded again. We’ve met around many different offerings with small groups emerging, some lasting for years and others ending, teaching times being frequent, then as desired, with unique offerings coming forward each year.

As fluid as it sounds, and is, our members still struggle with articulating our purpose, so we clearly still have a way to go in growing a Teal culture. Sometimes I find our purpose so clear and simple, yet at other times, I want the strong hierarchical structure of my early ministry that compelled us along. It made it easier. We all had our marching orders and they were written in a manual. Teal requires maturity, listening to one another, listening to Spirit. It’s not easy. I hope I’m strong enough to live into it without an organizational hierarchy telling me to do it. Am I? are you? Do you want to live driven by purpose or driven by structure? It’s ‘Leaf-in-the-Wind’ life (John 3.8)

Community Leader Canada

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