I love this quote from Jonathan Ingleby:
My answer to that question is another question: can we begin to think seriously about low-maintenance’ churches? Also, is this possibly one of the things that ‘emerging church’ is about? We are simply being crushed by the weight of the structures we have created in order to maintain our church life. People find they cannot take the weight and are slipping out to look for something which meets their spiritual needs and to which they can contribute something, but which does not weigh on them so heavily. Viewed from within the church, this is the familiar dilemma of ‘mission versus maintenance’. We are putting so much energy into maintaining the structures that we have not got time for anything else.
I leave my readers to figure out what might be a practical response. Burning down the church building might be a useful start! But the principle seems simple enough. No doubt structures are necessary – but they need to be light, flexible, easily re-invented, inexpensive, people-friendly, contextual (particularly contextualised to people’s busy lives) appropriate and all the rest. (read more – PDF).
It comes from the Encounters magazine and is a comment on the Thinking Mission Forum’s discussions on ‘Baby or Bathwater: Must We Ditch Traditional Church Structures to Do Mission Well?”. (By the way, I take full responsibility for that title – which others on the committee were less convinced by!).
This video is a snatch of Jonny Baker’s presentation at the Forum