Excerpt from The Monkey and the Fish by Dave Gibbons (pgs. 126-128):
We ask this question a lot among the community of believers I do life with: What are the bottlenecks of our church? What are the barriers? What squeezes the life out of what is intended to be a sanctuary of strength and a source of life, hope and intimacy?
We also have wondered the same about the church at large.
And one of the biggest issues we’ve come to recognize is similar to what Luther found –there’s a structure, organization, and philosophy that discourages and hinders, if not prevents, the involvement and collaboration of everyday people in the most important parts of church and ministry.
Too often it seems like church ends up being all about place and not nearly enough about people.
Too often it seems like preconceived notions about the form of the church trump the reason for the church’s existence in the first place.
We’re seeing that every time we make church not about a place or form but instead a home where everyone plays—a church without walls—we end up with something liberating, empowering, and engaging.
What’s adding urgency to being a church without walls is that all around the world we’re seeing a dramatic flattening of hierarchies and loosening of structures in significant domains and institutions, and moves toward decentralization that are common during seasons of innovation.
Because of the internet and peer-to-peer platforms like Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, and others, ordinary people around the world are participating and collaborating in ways and in spaces they never did before. And they are demonstrating there’s vast expertise and talent out there that just didn’t have a voice or vehicle before. A new collaboration in the world is eradicating fences and removing age-old barriers, bullies, budgets, biases, and bottlenecks.
But what about in the church?
Ponder that for a bit…place or people?