Humble individuals are a wonderful treat to find. They are non-defensive, open with others, have nothing to prove and nothing to lose, understand their strengths and their weaknesses, love to empower and release others and have an inner strength that comes from their understanding of themselves and who God made them to be.
True humility is the foundation of cooperation with others - understanding that we need others to complement our strengths and weaknesses. And it is a cooperation of respect and openness that recognizes the God given gifts to others and that we are better together than separate.
There is a need in Christian ministries to apply those same principles to our ministries and to develop a sense of organizational humility. Like individuals, organizations can be characterized by pride or by humility. How many ministry leaders in churches or other ministries communicate the message that we are special, we are better, we are the best or we are on the cutting edge?
Really? We may be special in some way, better in some things, hopefully on the cutting edge of something but so are our so called competitors. Is it this pride that keeps ministries from working more closely toward common objectives, that keep us siloed and protective of turf? Are we unwilling to share our gifts and expertise as well as learn from the gifts and expertise of others?
In the mission world (and church world) this pride and lack of humility often keeps us from working in creative ways together. It promotes competition among God's workers (I wonder what Jesus would say about that) rather than a kingdom mentality (it is all about Him). We have learned in ReachGlobal how much other ministries have to offer us, how much we don't know, how much better we are in partnership than alone and how much broader the family of God is than we often think. But, we must constantly work on this because the natural tendency of ministries is to go it alone rather than take a posture of humility, knowing that we need others to be the best that we can be.
Like people, every organization has strengths and weaknesses. Like individuals we complement our strengths and make up for our weaknesses in working with others. While we should be proud of our organization for what it represents, our humility should make us open to what we can learn from others. And prevent us from lifting our organization up by diminishing other organizations (or churches) around us.
Organizational humility is an attitude of graciousness toward others, thinking cooperation rather than competition, knowing we can and should work with others and refusing to life ourselves up at the expense of others.