When it comes to the church – and especially when it comes to moving away from a more institutional/organizational approach to church and moving toward a more organic/simple approach to church – it seems that deconstruction is a necessary first step. As many have found, it can be a difficult and painful first step, but an important one all the same.
Two of my favorite bloggers have (or will) write about this kind of deconstruction…
Eric at “A Pilgrim’s Progress” recently completed his 10 part series and summarized it in a post called “Series Summary: Ten Church Structures That Hinder Disciple Making.” He introduces his summary like this:
Discipleship ought to be alive and well within the church. However, several time-honored church traditions act as roadblocks when it comes to discipleship. Many of these are so familiar that they are not questioned.
Similarly, Miguel at “God Directed Deviations” is just beginning a new series with a blog post called “I Don’t Want To Be That Guy Who’s Pegged As Anti-Church, But…” In this introductory post, he writes:
Anything that impedes The Gospel, detracts from Making Disciples, or moves in a direction that is Contra-Kingdom has got to be shattered. I do understand though, that the speed or manner by which any institution or system is shifted away from the actions or attitudes that cause those things will differ depending on context, culture, and willingness. Likewise, I understand that the time frame in which a local body becomes self-aware on those issues will vary.
I’ve been through this process – and in some ways, I’m still going through it and probably always will be going through it. The most difficult part is that relationships are often fractured because of differences (and growing differences) in the way people understand and live as the church.
I think this is probably caused by what Miguel refers to as the differences which depend “on context, culture, and willingness” and the “time frame” in which both a local body and individuals take these steps of change (or don’t take these steps of change).
If you’ve been following my blog over the last couple of weeks, you know that I’ve been writing about two related topics: “real relational unity” and “community hermeneutics.” Of course, this concept and process of “deconstruction” is strongly related to both unity and community hermeneutic/interpretation.
So, while thinking about deconstructing our church traditions, organizations, institutions, etc. in order to see the kingdom of God increase (the title of this post), a question kept running through my mind…
Knowing that people grow and change at different rates, how do we change structures that affect us as a group (when we are not at the same place as a group) without breaking those important relationships (i.e., maintaining unity)?