Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Stem Cell Churches

Could the concept of "stem cell research" be applied to looking for a cure to our 'sick' church growth? What basic 'stem cells' are needed to preserve in order to cultivate a healthy community? What are the basic stem cells of a churching community? Seems like for women, and others that are typically marginalized as potential spiritual leaders of communities of faith, need to firmly redefine 'church' and embrace these new emerging definitions through risky implantations.

I suggest that our definition of church is static and sterile. At best, the current church plant movement is mired in cloning - spending boo-coo time and effort in training people (almost exclusively Maxwell/Clinton/Malphers wired, driven men) to plant a carbon copy of some existing Maxwell/Clinton/Malphers model. But, why are we putting so much time toward making clones of churches that people are not only NOT coming to in increasing numbers, but are shrinking (according to all national stats)?????

I suggest it's because to train for apostolic births, to nurture and cultivate fresh entrepreneur works, would mean that the institutional church machine would then have to embrace a diversity of people to launch such efforts ... breaking free from the stereotypical 'prime candidate' of church planters! (I will leave my readers to define the stereotype!) Ironically, I doubt whether Paul would have made it through the church planting sifting organizations that are being touted out there as being able to find the 'most likely to succeed" candidates! (I'm pretty sure that Priscilla would not have made it through the sifter unless she submitted to giving her partner's name first billing!)

Having said this, back to my first thread of imagination ... what are the stem cells of an authentic community of faith that could be cultured to provide new and fresh 'churching' communities for the 21st century?

3 Comments:

Blogger LutheranChik said...

Happy Delurking Week!

Taking a stab at your question...I think that healthy churches have a core of laity "stem cells," rather than investing all knowledge, authority and power in the office of pastor. I'm grateful for my synod (regional organizing unit) and for my own pastor/congregation for understanding this and strongly supporting a trained lay ministry...giving laypeople the tools to equip themselves within their congregations and to help other congregations.

9:23 PM  
Blogger A Women's Kavura said...

Lutheranchik... to me, continuing with labels of clergy and lay ministry is part of the major problem of the 'modern' church model. Luther coined the phrase 'priesthood of all believers' but using these labels does not foster that biblical concept of everyone called to minister to one another. The gap between pulpit and pew continues to keep people 'in their proper place'...securing a power base for leadership as being 'one up' on everyone else.

With the term 'pastor' being used so few times in the N.T., why has it been so elevated (as even demonstrated by the church infrastructures elevating the pulpits... the winding stairways to the pulpits?) What happened to the other gifts of the 5-fold ministry, even listed "ahead" of pastor/teacher? How much of the elevation of the title "Pastor" has to do with money, power and prestige? Seems all that Luther objected to in the Catholic church of his day continues in Lutheranism today, in reality, just with different labels and looks.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Elaine B said...

What about an Order of women? Female monasticism actually developed as its own distinct female spirituality. What if we reclaim that distinctiveness in a 21st century way with an inter-denominational, incarnational order of women? Not requiring us to leave our families or homes, not requiring us to live in seclusion. Rather a commitment to a certain way of life WITHIN our existing situations. A few simple concepts that guide the life of the members.

2:50 AM  

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