Today I was reading Chris Brogan’s description of the spirit of PodCamp. While I was reading, something clicked in my thinking about church.
But before I get there, PodCamp is a conference about podcasting which is free, at which everyone is an expert (or a superhero, as Chris would say), at which all of the sessions are planned and presented by people who are sharing their expertise, at which stars and novices are side by side, at which the goal is to meet other people and learn from them, at which the ideal infrastructure is negligible.
There are only five rules:
- All content created must be released under a Creative Commons license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
- All attendees must be allowed to participate. (subject to limitations of
physical space, of course)
- All sessions and events must be free of charge to attend.
- The event must be new-media focused.
- The financials of a PodCamp must
be fully disclosed in an open ledger, except for any donor/sponsor who wishes to
As I was reading this morning, Chris was talking about everyone needing to own responsibility. If you spill something, clean it up. If you see something someone else spilled, clean it up. If you see a need, meet it, because at a PodCamp, EVERYONE is the conference.
So I started thinking about church. Too often, when people talk about the church, as in, “that’s awful, the church should do something about that”, what is meant is, “the paid staff should do something about that.” But the more I am reading and thinking and praying these days, I am increasingly concerned that if we are depending on the paid staff to be the church, then at least one church of which I am part of the paid staff is in trouble.
I can’t be the church. I don’t want to be the church. We’d be a really bad and limited and boring and ineffective and unbalanced organism if I was the church. Just like a PodCamp, EVERYONE is the church.
In fact, even as I was thinking, I looked at 1 Corinthians 14:26 where Paul is talking about how worship should happen:
Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize what I am saying. When you meet, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in an unknown language, while another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must be useful to all and build them up in the Lord.
There is incredible diversity and unity in these gatherings of the body. There should be great freedom for involving people. And there needs to be the acknowledgement that even the leaders, the most experienced, can be and should be servants, should be alongside.
Of course, in the way that a PodCamp needs to be new media focused, a church needs to be Christ-focused. Other kinds of gatherings can exist, but they aren’t church.
No one ends up owning the results, they are part of the community.
I’ll have to come back to this, but I wanted to get it out for interaction and comments, because, that’s how community works. And one of the big questions I have is this: there is great excitement and freedom and energy and equality in the first PodCamp. But by the 6th one, will structure begin to creep in and, as a result, will it become a religion? I ask this NOT actually about PodCamp, but about church. The first year in a new place is pretty exciting. By the 100th year, is there any way at all to maintain or to foster or to reinvigorate the freedom and flexibility?
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