Here’s how the question–which I am still gnawing on–was posed to me:
What if you started a church with the aim and intent of killing it in 10 years?
This question should push us past preconceived notions of what church has to look like.
For the most part, when someone plants a church, the intent is to grow larger, build wealth for funding buildings / programs / staffing / etc. and carry on in similar fashion until Jesus returns.
Some of those churches get very large. Others stay quite small. And there are all sizes in between.
But what if you shocked your imagination to go beyond the consideration of size? What if the main component of a new church was time?
The first vision casting would go something like —
We are going to exist as this faith community for 10 years, Lord willing. And in that 10 years, we will not buy or build anything but will fully devote monies to spreading the gospel in word and deed. Whatever is left at the 10 year mark will be funneled into another ministry, or, 10 year church will begin anew in another city.
The follow up question to the possibility of a church like this is whether anyone would dare sign on?
Here are two immediate implications, at least in my mind, of such a model.
- A renewed urgency around the gospel
- A renewed responsibility to steward resources
You get the sense when you read the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles that Jesus and his crew really believed the message of the gospel was urgent. That lives depended on it. Eternities, in fact. And the gospel, lived out, could change communities, cities, countries, and continents. Which explains why I’m typing this in the United States of ‘Murica more than 2000 years after a nomadic carpenter from Nazareth died on a tree.
Beyond the urgency to share and proclaim, how would knowing you have 1o years and only 10 years change the way you allocated the kingdom dollars people would give? I think it would look drastically different than most of our churches now, including the one I pastor in which we are trying to pay off a $1million note on a building with 100 people in it each week. That same story is multiplied, sometimes by 30 or more, across the US.
Isn’t it an exciting question to at least consider? 1o years, All in. And then all out.
What might be? Aiming to kill a church may very well mean the preemptive death of divisive preference wars, because what’s the point? There’s no establishment, no old guard…naïve? Maybe. But plausible.
What do you think could be different with 10 year church?