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A Vision of Future Church Structure No One Wants To Hear
What do you do with a vision that no one wants to hear? Duh. You blog it. You share it with the Internet and let any who might be interested find it on their own.
Imagine a different church structure than we currently see anywhere in the U.S. Imagine a decentralized church structure wherein the building becomes an obsolete expression of the faith.
The Church building's time is coming to a close
The time has come for the church building model to morph into something else. Where once it was difficult to imagine a group of believers thriving without an external sanctuary, that same sanctuary is becoming our biggest obstacle.
Why? Because within the church walls we've begun to feel safe enough to practice being who God made us to be. But as a majority, we are not taking that version of ourselves and sharing it with the world outside those walls of the church. And what do you have when you can't be the same person outside the church as inside? You have duality. And you have facades. You have a person struggling to pretend to be something other than who they are or who they want to be in order to feel right about their social standing.
Nothing real world happens inside the church building. There's no significant commerce. There's no child raising. There are very few shared meals. There are few chores or neighborhood issues to resolve. In short, the building creates an entirely "other" microsociety which does not accurately reflect nor integrate with the actual real world society.
Thus, we have a problem. If the faith we are practicing has no grooves to fit into the puzzle of every day life, then the religion we are practicing is useless. We were created to function in real life settings are real people demonstrating the love, goodness, and power of God. Without that truth shining from within, we must be something else. And if we are something else, we are not real.
And we cannot be a vibrant, useful Church if we are not real.
A vision of something new
The new church I see has no building. It has no centralized meeting place. It is truly a home-based church. But unlike the existing simple church or XYZ church movements, it’s not a loose-knit group of people doing whatever they feel like. There is structure and there is a measure of connectivity.
The doctrine is connected through the Internet. Podcasts, blog posts, and social media provide the instant easy access to all teaching materials that all groups share as common ground.
But the meeting place is the home. And the coffee shop. And the city park. And in those places, all people are equals. There is no speaker and audience. Each person brings a prophecy, a teaching, an encouragement, a psalm, a hymn, a spiritual song.
You show up to share. You show up to receive. You show up to be part of something bigger that cannot exist without you. And you cannot really exist without them.
The leadership of the church meets in a home group, and the leaders then visit the other home groups in a traveling circuit/rotation to provide support and input. They mentor local leaders and answer hard-to-answer questions and fill in the blanks where the less experienced feel at a loss. But they are the moving roving interconnected thread of the church.