Monday, September 05, 2005

2. The Institutional church. This is one of those topics that I can not fully flesh out on paper. It is more of a pregnant idea, yet to be fully formed and developed. There are three movements called the missional, the organic and the emerging church. These movements are unique each in their own way, and even share common characteristics. After minimal exposure to the writtings of all three, I am attracted to all three because of their passion for reaching people and their critique of the dominant role of tradition in most churches. I find myself jaded with the current options of the church. Right now, the institutional church is the default model for doing or planting churches. This will soon change. Movements will spring up that are not tied to the classic 3 B's. Buildings, Bodies and Budgets. Is it possible to be the church without orienting your identity, energy and structure around the B's? Can the church grow without having to be so "corporate and market driven?" Isn't there really more than one model for church? I am with that growing minority that says a resounding yes to this. In fact, I believe, if the church is to survive the future, it must explore different models of working out the mission of God. Will the institutional church eventually become extinct? Maybe. I think that it will go through a death and be rebirthed as a contextual model. It will no longer be the default model, but a way of working out the mission of God when the context requires it. The institutional church has achieved great influence for God. There are millions who have found Jesus Christ through the institutional church. Yet, like any other model, it is tied to a specific culture and context. There are some places where the institutional church is the wisest way to engage culture. While there are other models that are more efficient in others. The key here is to be contextual. The winds of PostModernity and what lies beyond its boundaries, are blowing us into an ever increasing state of irrelevance. There needs to be more pioneers in planting churches that are not afraid to break the mold and venture into non-traditional models of doing church. Not just to be different or rebellious. But to start a revolution. A revolution of mission, worship and discipleship. It is time for a more healthy model of of engaging the mission of God.

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