Movements vs. Organizations

A few month’s ago this was posted on Atlanta’s 11 Alive news site:
ATLANTA (AP) — Civil rights icon Andrew Young says he has little use for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organization he once worked in alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Young says that then, the SCLC was a movement and Dr. King resisted the idea of selling memberships. Infighting and allegations of financial mismanagement are threatening to undermine the social justice group co-founded by King in 1957.

The group is headed to court on Wednesday. Young says the fight is over an organization — not a movement — and that he is not interested in organizations but would be glad to support a movement.

“Not interested in an organization,” says Andrew Young…neither am I. In fact, most people are not interested in organizations…but movements are a different story. When Dr. King founded SCLC it was a movement. A band of brothers and sisters fighting against a common enemy, injustice, and standing for a common cause, the rights, justice, and equality of all men…as promised in our constitution. But what happened? How did this great movement deteriorate into an organization better known for mishandling money, scandal and in-fighting than they are for what they once stood for?

This happens when the vision of the visionary dies with him, or begins to be altered so severely that it can no longer be distinguished from the rhetoric that replaces it. Soon the vision that catalyzed the movement is relegated to writing on the walls, in pamphlets, or on websites, while the trajectory of the movement changes, momentum slows, and an organization then becomes immanent.

I am desperate for Renovation Church to be a movement in the city of Atlanta. One catalyzed by a clear vision, and carried by committed people. It is so easy to lose sight and become an organization instead of a movement, just look at Christianity itself! Though Christianity is now, at least by most accounts, considered an organization…it didn’t start that way.

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