Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Solid vs. Liquid

Michael Frost, in his book, Exiles, refers to Pete Ward in describing the differences between solid and liquid church.

"In his book Liquid Church, Pete Ward argues that there needs to be a shift from solid church to liquid church. He defines solid church in formal, institutional parameters: a more-or-less coherent congregation with a distinct organizational structure meeting in a particular place at a particular time. In solid church, faithfulness tends to be equated with church attendance; success is measured in terms of numbers; worship and teaching are standardized, producing a bland and inoffensive diet of middle-of-the-road music and safe spirituality; and membership has become an exclusive and self-serving commitment, little different sociologically from membership in a golf or tennis club.
"According to Ward, liquid church, by contrast, takes its identity from the informal and fluid notion of believers in communication with each other. This rather simple idea, if carried through in practice, has significant implications. First, liquid church is not an institution, but something that we 'make with each other by communicating Christ.' It exists in networks of relationships. Second, the basis for church life is found not in organizational patterns or buildings, but in people's spiritual activity. Ward reemphasizes the suggestion that 'church' should be understood as a verb rather than a noun ("I church, you church, we church"). It might not seem all that radical, but rarely is it seriously embraced by many Christians today. Third, liquid church does not have to take the form of a weekly congregational meeting: 'Worship and meeting will be decentered and reworked in ways that are designed to connect to the growing spiritual hunger in society.' This points to the fundamental motivation behind the idea of liquid church, which is mission."

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