Here is the historical progression that we see:
Church1 was the “Early Church”
These are the communities of disciples that formed soon after Jesus’ death.
A good way to describe Church1 is:
- The lack of a formal central authority or consolidated “orthodoxy”
- Discipleship through participation in relatively smaller groups of “believers”
Church2 was the “State-sponsored Church”
This is the Church as an institution (and even agent) of the civil authority of the time.
A good way to describe Church2 is:
- A formalized central authority and “orthodoxy”
- Support from (or enablement by) the civil or governmental authority
“Church3 is the “Nonprofit Church”
This is currently the dominant model of “church,” which has a legal designation as 501c3.
A good way to describe Church3 is:
- An emphasis on the beliefs and practices as prescribed by the Church
- A heavy reliance on committee-based decision-making and volunteers
“Church4 is the “Maker-centric Church”
This is church as a digital-first faith enablement and implementation platform.
A good way to describe Church4 is:
- Association through network, not necessarily affiliation through membership
- The ongoing construction of beliefs and practices by the individual
Specifically, Church4 is distinctly distanced from Church3 through:
- Replacing physical property with a digital platform and assets
- Reducing the need for a formal role of priest or pastor
Where do these categories come from? It comes from the ministry paradigm of PASTORIA.