The following excerpt is from an established church planter who is starting a new church plant. Questioning the lifespan of the church. It is certainly an interesting concept, a concept that I believe is rooted in the fact that many churches have become focused on themselves and not what Jesus would have us to focus on; others.
Crazy Thought…Help Me Process
Background question: Does the local church have a lifespan?
I was listening to a message by Andy Stanley and he was talking about how for a period of time, God had for whatever reason granted them favor the community. In passing, he said, “everything dies.” That got me thinking about the local church. Does it have a life cycle? I know the Church is eternal, but what about the church? I don’t think any of the first century churches are still meeting? I know some churches that still act like like it’s the 1950’s, but that’s another story.
I am a big believer in that the church should replicate itself…we ought to be about building the Kingdom and not building a church. With that in mind, what if we, in advance decided that Oak Leaf [www.oakleafchurch.com] would die one day? What if we said in our bylaws that on a certain date 40 years from now, the church would disband, and all the staff and members and leadership would go out and start over all around the world? What if we intentionally decided to reproduce? We could only get so big anyway? In a way, that’s what churches like Northpoint [www.norhtpoint.org] are doing with Buckhead and Browns Bridge. Replicating themselves.
Imagine if I knew I only had 10 years to live. Would that change what I did with my life and with my time? How much perspective would that give us as a church to know for a fact that we were only here for a time? We only have a certain amount of time to make a difference. We need to get things done because we won’t be here forever. And when the time comes, we’re breaking up and going all over the place.
It’s a crazy idea, and may always just be a concept. But maybe there is something there. I don’t know.