A Double Helix Explains the Church – Mission Agency Relationship (4th of 8 Illustrations)

Understanding the Two Structures of God’s Redemptive Mission

It will be helpful to explain the relationship between churches and mission agencies by their similarity to the double helix nature of every living cell. What is a double helix? It is “a pair of parallel helices intertwined about a common axis, especially that in the structure of the DNA molecule.”[1] These two strands are “coactive, harmonious, and symbiotic.”

In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick broke the story of their findings in a Nature magazine with these famously understated words: “The structure of the DNA molecule is a double helix. This structure has novel features which are of considerable biological interest.”[2] The science community was pushed to choose between this new paradigm or stay with whatever existing theory that had been assumed until that time. Watson and Crick’s theory explained nature better than the previous. Today, scientists accept the theory that every living cell consists of a binary relationship between two coiled strands, a double helix. We may consider a church administrative board to be one strand: the other is the mission agency, or voluntary society.

The resemblance of the relationship between church governments and special-interest mission groups to a double helix encourages an attitude of mutual respect between these two structures.

Next: A Double Helix Explains “Missional One” and “Missional Two”: Two Structures of God’s Redemptive Mission (5th of 8 Illustrations).

Here are links to all eight illustrations in this series:

Lighthouse and Flint

Warp and Woof

Two Fishing Boats and a Great Catch of Fish

A Double-Helix–Churches and Mission Agencies

A Double-Helix–”Missional One” and Missional Two”

William Carey’s Two Structures

Modalities and Sodalities

Swiss Watches. Southwest Airlines. H20. Binary Code. Male and Female.

[1] www.lexico.com/en/definition/molecule

[2] Francis Crick and James Watson, “Letter,” Nature, April 25 1953, 737.