Lots of talk lately about what is starting to be called “Church 2.0” — aka church reimagined or the church that is emerging (emerged?) or any number of other epithets. Recently:
- Andrew Jones: Church 2.0
- Michael Lee: Groupthink: Worship 2.0
- Brian Orme: Street Wise Theology
- Joe@PeaceChurch: Anabaptist Approaches to Church: A Missional Community
- Kester Brewin: Emergent Church
- Andrew Jones: Emerging Church is . . . (quoting an article in Christianity Magazine)
Maybe some understanding of Web 2.0 helps, but these are some interesting thoughts on the subject, often with conceptual ties to the evolution of the World-Wide Web. Searching this blog for The Cluetrain Manifesto or The Cathedral and the Bazaar plus an early article, “The Beauty of Broken Systems” will yield many of my earlier thoughts on what is here being called Church 2.0.
Inspired by the first link in the list above, I started composing this post a week or so ago, not really planning it to be a New Year’s Eve post — I’m just late getting back to it — but since that time, Andrew Jones has completed an article which has been published by Relevant magazine. Not to give away the article, but he concludes insightfully,
How do you build a cathedral? My German friend Hans-Peter Pache knows the answer. You plant an oak grove, he says. In a hundred years, you have enough wood to build your cathedral.
The cyberchurch has been growing for over a decade, and like those young trees, its infantile frames and awkward efforts will find new definition before it reaches maturity. It is already behaving differently from the baby steps of the mid nineties and will no doubt change again. But it is growing, and it will continue to grow. Step by step. Link by link.
There’s a lot of reading involved in the posts above, and some very good ideas for thinking through. It might be said that Andrew Jones appears more than his share in the list, but the reason would be simple: he is probably the foremost thinker and writer on the subject right now.
In the past few years I’ve become firmly convinced that our old means of conceiving of chruch is broken. Over the past year I’ve become fairly convinced that it isn’t fixable, and needs reimagining or reinventing, not revamping. In software development, when you decide to move from version 1.0 (or 1.x), you contemplate some major changes for version 2.0 — this often includes major rewrites and fundamental changes in the way the software works or what it can do… and the first things that you do in the process are to create your new requirements document and begin to develop a roadmap to get from where you are to where you’re going. Unfortunately, the Church 2.0 analogy breaks at precisely this point. Would that it were so easy! On the other hand, journeys without maps are the most adventurous — they tend to be the most fun, and the most rewarding.
So here we are on the verge of a new year, planting oak groves one link at a time, pursuing Church 2.0 without a map. To the journey!