[“Church Without…” is a series of think-pieces designed to slowly deconstruct what we think is essential to having church and to call attention to the hidden barriers we’ve erected between ourselves and the Great Commission.]
I hate to repeat myself, so perhaps you will consider this post to rhyme with the previous one, but what if one of the biggest problems that the Church has is churches?
“Church buildings,” that is.
I’m not against churches having buildings. My church has a really cool one, but I do wonder sometimes if the building becomes an albatross, a limiting agent that is nearly impossible to overcome.
Buildings insulate us, making us insular and inwardly focused. Rather than laborers coming to rest before returning to the field, we become refugees, hiding out each Sunday, fearful of having to return to the world for another week.
What if the Church were more decentralized? I know what you’re thinking. There are millions of churches, so how much more decentralized could we get? Well, what if each church broke into 50 or 60 smaller groups that we focused, not on their building, but on building His Kingdom in their neighborhood, workplace, or family?
What if we decentralized the local church, maximized its reach, and made the Kingdom a grassroots effort by working the harvest fields in small groups during the work and then reuniting as a large group on Sunday, thanking God for the souls harvested, lives changed, during the course of the week?
Buildings are fine, for what they do, but when they become the focus, the centralizing force, they are a roadblock. Decentralization becomes a must.
Jesus’ Great Commission to us was to “Go and make,” not to “Build and wait.”
Let’s gather on Sunday and scatter on Monday. Let’s make Jesus the focus and follow His example by engaging with the world outside of the four walls of the church/Temple/synagogue. Let’s decentralize for the sake of reaching everyone with the message of God’s love and forgiveness.