Is there any future for the institutional church?

More scandalous news from Belgium this morning. Jonny Baker asks the question:

In the light of the scandals surrounding the Catholic church, and the decline in church attendance over the past decades, has the classic model of the institution had its day?

Is institutional Christianity an outmoded organisational technology slow, heavy-weight and rigid and are there new, more light-weight and adaptable skins that provide a more flexible and adaptable service& or is the move towards a more fluid, “TAZ” Christianity no more than a flash(mob) in the pan, lacking substance or ground for genuine action?

The Apple 7 event this week at a pub in London hopes to pick up on Kester’s earlier thoughts and answer that question.

Great photo on Kesters blog, btw. Reminds me of that Vineyard service I went to last year.


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Sasa Flek says:

    Tim Keller says that the terms “institutional” and “organic” church come from Abraham Kuyper, who argues that both of these must exist together and complement each other. I think the institutional church has been thru a lot during its 20 centuries, and didn’t cease to exist, so it probably won’t now, either. Church in whatever form is an institution, just like family is. Let’s get over it 🙂

  • I think my comment got eaten by the intarwebz 🙂
    Jonathan from Spritzophrenia

  • Andrew says:

    Sasa, you have been in New York for 3 days and already you are quoting Keller. Good stuff though, and well balanced.
    I think the institutional church [and remember we are talking Europe here and not USA so the level of institutionalization is a lot higher in many circles] is taking a serious beating through the Belgium and Ireland scandals and has lost its previous authority and with it, its privilege of self-correction in the short term. Its judgement day in the house of the Lord and it will be saved, yes, but only through the fire.

  • David Knapp says:

    I am reading Ordering our Private World by Gordon MacDonald and in the prayer section of the book he describes what is happening in the photo. Apparently this how some people prayed in the Bible.

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