Church as community, as institution

I want to highlight an article by Andrew Thompson (who blogs at Gen-X Rising) addressing generational differences on how the Church is viewed: builders and boomers seeing her as more an institution while Gen-X-ers seeing her more as a community (he doesn't talk much about millenials, but I think this would be true for them as well).

Of course, the Christian Church is both an institution AND a community, as Andrew points out. I have believed for a long time that any community that hopes to live for more than 2 generations must, by the very nature of human society, become more or less institutionalized. That truth is odious for many, and I understand why they feel that way, though I believe such feeling comes from too limited a view of the relationship between institution and community. The key will always be finding ways for the instutution to facilitate community, rather than always viewing the two as mortal enemies fighting for the soul of the Church, or some such unproductive (and untrue) approach.

The article is published at Duke Divinity School's new Faith and Leadership website, which I hope to frequent when I may.

Happy Valentines day everyone!



Blogger John T. Meche III said...

You are spot on. I couldn't have said it better. I hear a lot of guys turning their mouths in disgust when they talk about the concept of church as institution. It's not "church as institution" that it the problem. It' the "church as merely institution" that is the probem

9:20 AM, February 15, 2009  

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