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The Chaordic Tension of Movements

True, apostolic movements are continually torn between chaos and order. This tension will always exist inside a healthy movement. Chaos needs to be present for movements to emerge.

That is why institutions do not respond well to emerging movements.

Most institutions tend to move towards stability and conformity.

Churches and non-profits are no exception.

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God's messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn't let me.” (Luke 13:34)

 The church today, as Jerusalem of old, kills the prophets. They do so not because they are protectors of truth, but because they are threatened by change. Yet, God longs to gather His people to himself. He sees that they place their security in false idols – the illusion of safety that the status quo offers. He will keep sending messengers until His people break free from false security and gather under the shelter of His wings! An environment of order and stability often leaves little room for change or new ideas to surface. Institutions usually reject the idea of movements because they upset the status quo.

The role of a movement catalyst in this case is to upset the status quo, create chaos and facilitate an atmosphere where new ideas and creativity can emerge. Rather than reject this instability, we should embrace it. The apostolic/prophetic gift to the church exists to challenge our false comfort and continually call us to our higher purpose. Creating discomfort in the church may be our only hope for reaching the world.

Frank Herbert says it best in his Dune series: “I mean to disturb you! It is my intention! I come here to combat the fraud and illusion of your conventional, institutionalized religion. As with all such religions your institution moves toward cowardice, it moves toward mediocrity, inertia and self-satisfaction.” (From: Children of Dune by Frank Herbert)

The journey to movement is revolutionary. It always creates instability and chaos. There is no other way. At the same time, movements that fail to move beyond chaos will die a quick death. Movements cannot stay in this “chaos” mode for too long. Never-ending change will cause a permanent instability that will eventually destroy the movement. We see this pattern in some of the revivals and movements of the past. They created a temporary storm but left nothing of substance behind. A few years after they have died down, there is nothing left. In order to start movements, we often need to create chaos. We must allow God to shake us from our comfort and confront our false idols. But in order to build movements, we need to move from chaos to order. This shift from chaos to order is also the slow death of the movement. As stability is restored and bureaucratic systems once again take control, the life of the movement begins to die. It takes an apostolic/ prophetic vision to once again disturb the status quo, upset some people and cause some chaos!

This is the dance.

This is the life cycle of movements.