On Church: “How did we get here?”

August 2, 2009


I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means for us to be the church in recent days–which is, ultimately a question of origins.  “What are we doing?” and “Why are we doing it?” are ultimately return us to “How did we get here?” questions.

As I continue to learn, think and pray I’ve stumbled on an article relating the architecture and theory behind both churches and businesses over the last century or so.  For those who find this type of thing mind-numbing, you have my leave to courageously head for the door.  For the few interested, the title (and link for you to click and follow) is “Infrastructure for Souls: Tracing the parallel histories of the American megachurch and the corporate-organizational complex”.

For myself, I originally saw the article on Geneveith.com, citing the New York Times “Must Reads for the Week” who sum up the article’s main idea this way:

Successful megachurches reflect American corporate history and management theory. Their architecture and organization “are best compared to those of the modern white-collar workplace.”

If you’re REALLY interested, I’m sure both sites will shortly have some good discussions going in their comments.  Agree or not, it at least calls me to consider where my major assumption find their source.

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4 Responses to “On Church: “How did we get here?””

  1. Gregg Says:

    I think I would have to agree with one of the commenters on Veith’s blog. I’m not sure why this is news to those outside the church. The intersection of marketing, management theory and architecture between the church and the larger culture has been going on for a long time.

    My question is can we truly divorce ourselves from the influence of our native culture? And do we want to? I think the risk the church consistently flirts with is that as we become a Jew for a Jew or a Greek for a Greek, or a suburbanite/urbanite (you choose) for . . . we potentially lose the simplicity and power of the gospel to change lives.

  2. Gregg Says:

    One more thought – how much of your own reflections (good and amazing that they are) are the result of the different perspectives you have absorbed growing up in a cultural setting that was profoundly different than that of your parents?

  3. Gregg Says:

    Oh – and I would be interested in seeing what blogs other than those of friends that you peruse on a regular basis. I’m always looking to add to my own blogroll. If you use google reader, maybe we could exchange lists.

  4. joewulf Says:

    Great thoughts I’ll have to keep thinking about Gregg.
    Unfortunately I’m not aware of any export feature through mac’s mail client (and I’m not going to look, so…) Here are the blogs I’m regularly on:
    geneveith.com
    nextreformation.com
    shapevine.com
    donmilleris.com
    soma-missionalmusings.blogspot.com
    dankimball.com/vintage_faith/
    I’d love to add to my list as well!
    I also follow Len Hjalmarson (Next Reformation), Don Miller and Derek Webb on twitter and would love more good people to follow on there as well (including yourself Gregg!).


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