One of the aspects of life that fascinates me here in our new home is the incredible number of Boutique Churches. Strip mall after strip mall seems to be home to one (or more!) of these little (and not so little!) churches. And they all have cool names.
Every time I spot a new one (nearly every day) I follow up with a Google search and try to learn a little bit about them.
Mostly I’ve discovered that these Boutique Churches are what we used to call “Baptist Churches”. When you scratch the gold leaf logo a bit you find a hipper, cooler sort of Baptist but pretty much still Baptist – only with espresso machines and a Persian rug or two on the stage. I love Persian rugs.
Better still are the “satellite” campuses. These aren’t new here anymore but I’m new to them. They are like the antithesis of the Boutique Church. They are the Fox books to the BC’s Little Shop Around the Corner. The Major Label to their Indie rock. The Starbuck to their Javanation. And I’m so glad I’ve never had to sit in a room with a group of leaders and seriously discuss starting a “satellite campus” because it would have been impossible for me to contain my amusement and appal at the hubris of a senior pastor who thinks a video feed of his talk on Sunday mornings is seriously THAT good that him/her on a big screen conveys the Gospel like a flesh and blood pastor who cries, laughs, loves and lives with the people of that church.
Sorry, I’m slipping in to a rant, it’s the culture shock. I’ll get over it. I don’t normally rant. Right?
Here’s the thing. Right now I’m reading a whole bunch of the early Church Fathers in prep for my upcoming module. These people were desperate to see Christian unity. They went to extremes to build Christian community and keep the family of God together. And now, 2000 years later we're all grown up and it seems we’ve rejected the narrow denominationalism of our parents and our parent’s parents and are too cool to divide over theology now. Now it’s style. And décor. And grind. These are the things worth setting up our own dark halls in which to meet and advance the Kingdom, sorry, Campus of God. We’ve embraced the aesthetics but I fear we’ve missed the point of those who died to give us a better view of the Kingdom Come.
Seen any Boutique Churches in your neighbourhood?
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that tells you how to do it AND get a tax receipt at the same time!)