Response: May 2014 Issue

Responsively Yours: To Do God’s Mission, Organize.

Responsively Yours: To Do God’s Mission, Organize.
Responsively Yours: Harriett Jane Olson.

Organizations are created and maintained to do things that individuals working alone cannot accomplish. They fill needs for members and others who benefit from their actions.  Our history is one of women coming together for a common purpose—their faith commitments lead them to raise funds, challenge laws, improve social conditions and bond together to express God’s love in the hurting places of the world of their generations.

Our current context is quite different from the ones in which our foremothers organized. Investments are not the preserve of a privileged few anymore, international travel is common and comparatively easy, and information—so much information!—about the conditions faced by women and children around the world and in our own neighborhoods is readily available through physical and digital libraries.

What do we need organizations to do? One thing organizations do for us is to validate and assess information. Just because we can see the video that has “gone viral” about an event half a world away doesn’t mean that we know how the promotion of the video is being used by someone to achieve other purposes—which could be good, like promoting a positive social movement, or and less pure, like facilitating personal gain or fame. An organization with relationships in a region can help to interpret the mass of data that we have available to us so that we can make accurately informed decisions.

An organization can help with continuity. All of us get interrupted and drawn away from our intentions at times. In an organization, however, if one member becomes ill, or has a crisis at work or in the family, others of us “stand in the gap” and help the work continue. We also share responsibility for the organization’s projects in ways that mean so much more can be accomplished than if we were working alone.

Perhaps most importantly in this era of fragmentation and specialized groups, an organization can become our community—a group of people who know, love and respect us, who share our deep commitments to Jesus and to living Christianly on the earth, and in doing so, making the world a more kind and just place. An organization can amplify and reinforce our “best selves.”

United Methodist Women is an organization with wide connections that helps us assess and interpret information, our processes provide for continuity and build communities of faith that nurture and support us. Our opportunity now is to organize and grow in ways that enable us to accomplish more together than we could separately and that help us to hear God and love each other. We’re building something together! 

Harriett Jane Olson
General Secretary
United Methodist Women


Posted or updated: 5/1/2014 11:00:00 PM
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