Tall or Flat?
The one fact that no one can dispute is that fewer people today are interested in organized religion. Most Americans don't want to pay for some religious monstrosity or attend a Crystal Cathedral. To put it in biblical terms, they have forsaken the Temple that Herod is building in the city, and gone looking for the burning bush. They are a generation like the one that met John the Baptist on the border of the wilderness and accepted his casual dress. They long to gather on the hillside and hear Jesus tell them about the Kingdom of God and how it is relevant to daily life.
Adults today, even those approaching retirement age, have become disillusioned with the religious answers that lie along the beaten path. They have noticed that their problems at work, in their family life, and in the political realm, are exacerbated by hierarchal structures and adversarial (I win, you lose) relationships. They have found that fruitful actions in each of these areas of life arise from:
- Utilizing small groups or teams
- Having horizontal relationships in a permission giving environment
- Consulting networks and seeking ideas from people outside their assigned group
My question this week, is your church tall or flat? Does it seek to be postmodern friendly by utilizing small groups, horizontal structures, and creative networks. When today’s adults are invited to work in the church, they want their experience to incorporate these things. This is why it is often hard to get people to fill the higher offices or to chair a committee. Traditionally defined church work doesn’t feel horizontal or egalitarian. It feels compartmentalized. It’s like being indoors on a warm spring day. Go for a hike. Leave the hierarchy behind.