What we have been attempting to do for about four years I will call "deconstructing" the church. Basically we have been attempting to digitize the church, that is, reduce it down to its most basic and irreducible form, where, if we remove one more thing, it will no longer be the church. There are a lot of reasons for this, one being that the replication of DNA takes place at the cellular level, rather than the most developed, complex level... another is that I am too tired to do the big church thing.... another was the influence of a book by Lamar Boshman on "Future Worship” that traced the locus of emphasis in church life from the sacraments in the middle ages.... to the pulpit in the reformation… to the platform in the electronic church.... and he predicted that in the digital age the locus of God's presence would be "in the midst of his people"....
From a missional point of view, we wanted to develop a model of church life that can easily be replicated in any social group or context with minimal scaffolding...Like catching or uploading a virus.
So, we started “deconstructing” layers of church life. The building was the first to go…then Sunday School, worship team…centralized giving and a joint financial account, then the leadership structure: the senior pastor, elders and staff.
Not surprisingly, one of the hardest things to get rid of was a weekly “meeting” for structured worship (worship meaning music and singing). This was especially hard for those who were raised in a context of weekly Sunday morning meetings. We now encourage the smaller committed groups to decide for themselves how often, when and where to meet, as we also encourage them to to give but empower them to hear from God about where to give.
We suggest Acts 2:42 as a guideline for their gathering. To truly empower the laity, and abolish the clergy-laity division will require more radical action than most leaders have been willing to take up to this point.