Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Covenant,NotContract

I a recently heard Dr. Doug Christensen discussing the relationship between the leaders of an organization and its membership.  He described the ideal relationship as a “covenant, not a contract.”

I had never thought of framing the relationship in that manner, but it works - quite well.  When a relationship is framed in terms of a contract, then several associated words/phrases come to mind:
  • legally binding
  • expectations
  • requirements
  • obligation
  • enforceability
  • arrangement
I suppose all those words are important in assuring that an organization is positioning itself to pursue its stated goals; however, they all seem rather legalistic and compliance-driven.  External rewards and punishments seem to be the motivators.

Covenant has a very different ring to it.  Words/phrases I associate with covenant are:
  • sacred bond
  • investment
  • collective endeavor
  • affiliation
  • pledge
  • commitment
I think Dr. Christensen has a good point.  The best organizations (the kind I want to be a part of) are the ones that are built on the solid foundation of mutual respect, the pursuit of worthy goals that go beyond making a profit or simply doing some job, and the synergy that springs from a collective commitment to achieving those worthy goals.  

Collaboration and enthusiastic participation 
OR
legalistic and compliance-premised?  

Hmmm...

Covenant.  The word implies an intrinsically motivated investment of body, mind, AND spirit.  There seems to be a holiness that undergirds such a partnership.

Yes, COVENANT for me please.



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