Institution or outpost?
This post is from the defunct blog “Dying Church”
From Mike Cope, found through Steve McMillan:
When institutional concerns are paramount, then preserving the status quo and making the clientele happy drives all decisions. Experts are brought in to preach the institutional mantra: "slow change, slow change, slow change." Cantankerous people run the show with their objections. Meeting consumer demands (with the members as the consumers!) rather than forming people as disciples becomes the preoccupation. But when the spiritual leaders figure out that they are not an institution to be preserved but a body of believers who are following the way of Jesus, then missional–rather than consumer–concerns drive decisions. There's less talk about prayer and more prayer. Less talk about the poor and more ministry with and among the poor. Less of a desire to let immature naysayers get their way and more of a desire to form them into disciples. Less of a devotion to "slow change" or "fast change" and more of a devotion to the leading of God's Spirit (as discerned by the group–not as "discerned" by one minister who just got back from a cool conference). I don't believe in being insensitive. We need to take time to teach people and care for people on our journey. Everyone is important! But for too often, out of our love for institutionalism and professionalism, we've let the most immature guide the decisions of the church. When will the church hear the missional voice of God? When will the poor, the unemployed, and the lost help determine what the church does? When we will realize that Christianity isn't just a tradition we believe but a way we live? When will we quit worrying about preserving the institution and start opening ourselves to the leading of the living Christ?