Category Archives: Thought on churching

Church Hybrid?

Can house churchers be in two places?

Lately, I have been considering the relationship between the house churches and more traditional, legacy churches. We have lost families (they left us for another fellowship) because they were looking for something with a structure for their children. It could also be that they were looking for a way to secure some “adult time” that they would otherwise lack. In short they went back to a more traditional model of church life.

This happens fairly often. I am not bothered by it, really. The important thing is for believers to be able to love one another in community. On the other hand, a traditional church still lacks the intimacy of a summit-style fellowship.

Anyhow, as I consider this, I wonder if there is some sort of relationship that is possible between the summits and traditional churches.

Sometimes I think about the “Word of God Communities” at Ann Arbor, Michigan in the 70s. Those were independent small group fellowships that lived parallel with the traditional churches of the area. Of course, that was during a season of revival/renewal which really changes the dynamic. In this season, we don’t have people drawing together around the shared experience of the spirit as they did then. Without that, it’s doubtful that people will be particularly inclined to “fellowship” in a summit.

I wrestle with it.

What would happen if we were to encourage families to partner with a traditional Church for the sake of their children? On the other hand, what would happen if every Summit Fellowship was to adopt a traditional Church? Would there be value in that? I remember we financially supported a church in Hood River for a while. I also remember one fellowship meeting on the night of a regular youth event so that their children can participate while the adults were part of the small group. Is this something that we should be considering? The problem with that may be then many traditional churches already have a small group program. Of course, most of those are pretty well locked in by the pastoral leadership.

I guess you can chalk this little ramble up to thinking out loud. Is partnership between a “kingdom community” and an organizational possible? Would it even be wise?

Things that make you go, “hmmmm….”

Stay Loose, Stay Organic

Small group churches–Kingdom communities–should adopt the organic paradigm. They should, at the beginning, understand that they do not intend–indeed it is not an option–to shift to an organizational paradigm or corporate structure.

If they understand at the beginning that it is not an option, then they have to be thinking in terms of multiplication, not addition. They need to understand that more distant relationships are a natural outcome as numbers increase. Even if you grow larger as a congregation, the increase of numbers naturally creates distance because people tend to have only enough margin to invest in a limited number of people. If a group is growing, in the organic model they begin to think about multiplication.

There is resistance to that because it inserts distance in the relationships. People need to understand, even convinced, that that is going to happen anyway. As numbers increase groups or clusters of people will form. The relationships within those subgroups will deepen and other relationships will become more distant. This result doesn’t reflect rejection or animosity, it is simply a function of growing larger.

This is why I advocate for a network. In a large Church people mix and mingle in distant relationship, but typically there are clusters, small groups, that reflect the closeness that is so important to those in a house church. If we are voluntarily interdependent, we make a place for those clusters to connect as they would naturally in a larger church that has a campout, or a Sunday picnic, or an all-church seminar. The analogous gatherings in the organic Network are called Vines, that is “Voluntary Intra-Network Events.”

It’s About Time!

Dan waxes eloquent about time.

How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon! December’s here before it’s June. My, how time has flown! How did it get so late so soon?

~ Dr. Seuss

round gold colored analog watch with pink leather strap on pink notebook

In a solo contribution, Dan breaks a long podcast silence with some thoughts about relationships and the time it takes to cultivate them.