Today’s blog might intrigue both confessionalists and missionalists as it might not be apparent what is meant by the term ‘leanness’. I am borrowing a concept from the entrepreneurial world (thanks to my friend, Andy Stager), where books like Lean Startup and Rework have challenged business owners on whether the industrial, production line mentality is the best way to run company.
Traditional churches are at a disadvantage in the same way an established company is that has so much built-in infrastructure that there is little ability to be flexible. We have church property, classrooms, multiple staff, budgets geared around events, etc. Churches in such a state have little wiggle room to be creative and flexible to reach incoming neighbors and entirely new missional fields.
Missional churches (especially those which are influenced by Alan Hirsch, Michael Frost, David Fitch, etc.) have the advantage of experimenting and calling audibles on the missional frontier depending on the lost people around them. Almost like an app on a smart phone that is okay with an imperfect product as it will continue shelling out upgrade after upgrade to reach more people, missional churches thrive on feedback, upgrade, and change.
Now, obviously, there is a limit to receiving feedback (“Quit preaching the Trinity” won’t be taken seriously), upgrade (I don’t think we should get rid of elders), and change (probably not a good idea to change church names and decor every week). But, I’ve seen how missional churches (though smaller) are at a greater advantage to equip the flock to be gospel neighbors.
Perhaps confessional churches should consider whether the ‘right church building’ or the need for a six figure budget is necessary to be salt and light in a city. Perhaps newer, better ways of doing ministry should be considered. Maybe we should make a rule to amend our Form of Government every 5 years.