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We have entered the era of Church4

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.

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