” . . .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.”
Jonathan Ingleby shares a postscript on the debate on emerging church in a worthy PDF from Redcliff which also has some good essays, including Jonny Bakers “Baby or Bathwater? Must we ditch traditional church structures to do mission well? A perspective from the Emerging Church in the UK”
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My experience in leading a house church for a year and attempting to launch an urban home church network is that people simply are not willing to sacrifice for the sake of the kingdom, regardless of the form church takes. The people breaking under the weight of the institutional church end up being unable–or unwilling–to bear the weight of devoted, incarnational Christian community. The latter is actually heavier… I mean it actually is. There is, and never will be, anything “low maintenance” about church, unless we stoop to the level of “church” described in Barna’s Revolution, where “church” is two guys talking on a golf course. Let me put it this way, at the very least, most Americans are too damned spoiled to really do church in a God-honoring way.
house church is tough and far more time consuming. especially when it meets at YOUR house and 4 hours later people are still there and you need to feed them dinner and one of them is homeless and needs a place to sleep.
makes one long for the old days of institutional church where you can walk away and lock up the church building.