Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Artisan Church


I saw this picture recently and it made me think. The images of school and work are even outdated. But our image of church is often behind even those images. In "contemporary services"we try to do what I call "arena rock"church that probably fits into this picture well. These ideas are moving forward however and we can't just do a better arena rock show. We must always be moving and adapting. In the music world, arena shows are getting more and more rare. Now the trend for a big show is in festival form where  you have many different bands playing shorter sets. How can this apply to the church? In the business world we have more and more people working from home and commuter campuses and buildings and location are less important. Things are becoming more local and more global at the same time. Dr. Leonard Sweet coined the term that I have been looking for these last few years. He calls the next kind of church the "artisan church." We have artisan bread at fast food chains, artisan coffee, artisan shops, etc. The idea is that these things come out of the local community and are unique to it. The franchise church will be around for a long time, just as the franchise business will, however new businesses are following more of an artisan model, while the church continues to try to build a franchise. I think we can do both, I think we need to do both. John Wesley did both when the United Methodist Church began, or to be more accurate, it was the very idea that birthed the United Methodist movement out of the Anglican franchise. Let's move into the future together as we respond to God, our heritage, and to the world around us.

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