The institutional church, as it grapples with cultural change, has a tendency to preserve the status quo. Members take actions that result in a stronger system — earthquake-proofing, putting on a new roof, remodeling the foyer to let in more light. But what if it’s time to move to a new neighborhood? To leave the old building behind and start on a new journey?
People are afraid of the unknown. They would rather improve efficiency than try a new task.
I dropped a piece of doughnut on the floor, and it’s covered with ants. Two ants are hauling off a section while a third crawls around on top. A fourth and fifth ant push and pull, stopping the portion’s progress for a moment before letting it go again. In spite of this seeming chaos, the work gets done.
What’s wrong with redundancy? Why do we need to streamline? To make processes more efficient? Aren’t these kinds of discussions based on the premise that some people are unnecessary?
But what if it’s time to move to a new neighborhood?
Maybe the building, the location, the tradition is more important than we realize. Perhaps the sense of legacy and tradition in that building makes the remodeling and enhancement worthwhile. In this way the old order and the new coincide as tradition and improvement go hand in hand. No reason why old ways and new efficient ways can’t do the same. I’m reminded of my parents church where a new efficient heating system saves money and yet a position as bulletin folder and insertor, if that’s a word, is still held by my little sister. Its a way she can have a part in the ministry of the church.
I think that what I should have made more clear isn’t that change is necessarily bad. The kind of change that I’m against is the kind that prioritizes a facility or an institution over the community of real people that work and live within it.
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