Disrupt Your Church’s Status Quo … Or Else?

Michael Frost suggests that existing churches need to make some sort of radical change in order to disrupt the natural state of church ministry (a.k.a., the status quo) in order to successfully make the missional shift:

“If you want to be a different sort of person, you’ve got to remove some of those structures that have made you comfortable being what you are now. So buildings and programs and paid staff and all of those sorts of things, they create a crucible in which we don’t need to change or move. So, I would say, some sort of liminal experience that shatters that, like sell your building or stop paying your ministers or something that forces disequilibrium into which then one must imagine and one must rethink.”

What do you think? Does this ring true for you? Or do you think Frosty is being too extreme and alarmist?

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  • http://www.villageohio.org Cheri Holdridge

    I love what Frost has to say about “liminal spaces.” Liminal is the space between space. As a church planter I am going to use this image of liminal as the place we are living right now when we experiment with creating new ways of being community. Frost says that in liminal community you have “left what you once were and not yet become what you’re going to be.” He goes on to say that in this situation, “one has to think quickly. . . ,” it “forces imagination and creativity.” Further he says, “When [liminal spaces]are created enormous possibilities happen.”
    His words are music to my ears as a church planter.
    Steve Knight’s post asks the question, is Michael Frost being too extreme when he says we have to do something to disrupt the established church in order to make the missional shift? I do not think he is being extreme at all. I believe most established churches have to die, in one way or another, or in many ways, to their status quo, in order to be relevant in this new day. James Harnish wrote the book “You Only Have to Die” in 2004, in which he said that a church has to die to what it has been, in order to live into a new future as a relevant church.
    I have talked with numerous planters, myself included, who have every intention of never purchasing a building for our church. We will borrow or rent space. Some of us will meet in parks and on beaches when weather permits. Buildings have become liabilities. I agree with Frost that if congregations could take the bold step of walking away from their buildings it might be just the catalyst to help them be more missional. But these bricks and mortal, or personnel changes alone will not make the change, there must also be a change of heart and spirit. Let’s not forget the more important spiritual work that is crucial to the saving of our communities of Jesus followers.

    • http://www.knightopia.com/blog Steve Knight

      Great comment, Cheri, thanks so much for sharing that!

  • http://www.missiongathering.com Rich McCullen

    I think we should always strive for a balance… I always find it interesting that a “paid” church leader/professional consultant. Are now telling pastors not to be “paid” anymore. I think its great that churches are thinking out-of-the-box, selling the properties, meeting in different/unique spaces. But my question is this, is it just becoming a new expression of white suburbia American Christianity that’s really a self-seeking communities with a hipster look?! I mean, its great to sit around in parks and imagine what the world should be like. But I think God is calling us to change the world to what HE had imagined, what HIS world should be like! That takes more than just hanging out at my communities farmers market! It takes diversity, strategic planning, strategy and yes, even structure that many healthy missional churches have.

    • http://www.knightopia.com/blog Steve Knight

      Thanks for commenting, Rich! You bring up some very valid points, esp. the point about being careful not to fall into the other trap of just doing what might be considered “hip” and “cool” at the moment. And in order to be effective, we can’t be allergic to structure, you’re absolutely right!

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