Thursday, September 03, 2009

Flagship Churches

In a conversation the other day, a friend told me of a church the considers itself a "flagship" church. I'm old enough to have heard that term to describe a prominent and important church for a denomination or city. They are the oldest, biggest and most impressive churches, where official funerals are held and weddings for important families. They used to set trends and directions, and were places where the most promising pastors received calls (or appointments).
But what does flagship actually mean in a postmodern, emergent world? How valuable is the real estate for the ongoing mission? Who cares about locational proximity in a viral world? Is age of a building a blessing or a curse? Do traditions attract or repel? How about admirals with walrus mustaches and chests full of medals...any use anywhere?


At 1:04 PM , Blogger Isaac Johnson said...

the question posed is what does it mean to be a flagship in a post-modern world where brick and mortar is far less important that a good URL.

A flagship church could simply be one that sets the pace for the others in their denomination. Perhaps they have the best website, strong music and exhude the qualities the denomination wants to espouse.

but it got me thinking - some denominations are very viral by their nature. Pre-internet, the Covenant had JP-USA and churches filled with Hippies as well as those all Svenske and extremely traditional. The church grew and reformed to fit whatever people it was growing into and to this day continues to grow and change - that non-centrist mode is what keeps it strong.

Think of those that have a tall hierarchy that get mired down in almost-corporate like politics. A priest has to get approval from the bishop who goes to the arch-B for sign off from the ... etc. Those that have to be secretive or hidden - can't post the true nature of their teachings (Mormons and Scientoligists). Or think of those that must keep with a style (evangelists or charismatics). It must be a struggle to sell the one-size-fits-all church in a world that now demands it's church like it demands its restaurants - what I want and when I want it.


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