Fortresses and Hospices, Hospitals and Training Camps

Share via:

How would you describe your church?  If you had to choose a primary metaphor…what would it be?

I don’t want to be prescriptive in any way.  I want you to fill in the blank.  I only include the following to start your thinking.

But how would you describe your church?  If you had to pick a single word to capture its essence…and then add whatever description to fill it out…what would it be?

Need a Little Help?

  • Fortresses: Exist to shelter people from the risks, temptations, creeping cultural issues, and immorality of a godless pagan world.  There is often a militant fervency.  It is always clear for whom the programming exists.  There is sometimes confusion about why growth is always transfer growth, but not often.  For the most part, there is clarity of purpose.
  • Hospices: Exist to provide a comfortable place to grow old and die.  There’s no militancy.  Instead, there is a built in comfort level.  There may be a longing for the old days and grand memories of seasons of relevance, but those days are long gone.  Now, the main preoccupation is honoring the past.
  • Hospitals:  Different than a hospice, the purpose of a hospital is to restore health to the patient.  There may be some programming that is designed to renew and refresh…but there is also a welcome mat that invites the prodigal, and far from God, home.  A true hospital makes has an open door, open arms and open heart policy that makes it easy for that to happen.  There is also an intentionality about the purpose of the restoration and a built-in expectation that “we’re here for your friends, too.”
  • Training Camps: Often found in combination with hospitals, these exist to equip everyone for impact in their circle of influence.  Whether it is an extended family, a neighborhood, a workplace environment, or longtime buddies from the park league softball team…there is an awareness that these are the 60% who are unreachable by the attractional model.

Why take the time to describe your church?  I am more convinced every day that only certain kinds of churches can actually play the game being played at crowd’s edge.  For many of us, connecting people at crowd’s edge will only happen in churches that truly get that we’re living in post-Christian America or Europe.

By the way, I believe one of the main reasons the church is growing exponentially in many other parts of the world is that grouplife at crowd’s edge is standard operating procedure.

Want to connect beyond the usual suspects?  The very culture of your church determines whether you can even play along.

What do you think?  Want to argue?  Got a question? You can click here to jump into the conversation.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email