The Residence Church

You are quite correct in observing that the traditional seminary will train you for the body of Christ in residence, and the denomination will deploy you among bodies of Christ in residence, and those franchised bodies of Christ in residence will fully expect you to stay in residence! Keep office hours, maintain fixed worship times, renovate the property slowly and with great concern for memorial plaques, and above all, keep the other residents happy! Mission Mover: Beyond Education for Church Leadership. 92.

When I read the above paragraph from Mission Mover, I reflected on my own experience of the first two churches that I pastored in SoCal. They were “resident churches” and they wanted me to stay in residence abiding to office hours, washing my car once a week so that it set an example to others who arrived on Sunday morning and saw the car in the Pastor’s parking space. They wanted to have church at the “holy” appointed times Sunday AM and PM and Mid-week worship on Wednesday. They wanted me to be the caretaker of the property including mowing the grass on the front lawn so the church property would look picturesque to those passing by in their cars. They wanted me to keep the “memorial plaques” spit shinned. They certainly wanted me to keep everyone happy.

Well I was a complete failure! I did not keep regular office hours. I refused to wash my car on Saturday or park in the Pastor’s spot on Sunday. I changed the holy Sunday service to a different location and format. I refused to mow the lawn, I moved the “holy altar benches” into the men’s room of the gym so the guys would have a place to sit and tie their gym shoes. I moved the trophy case and trophies from the foyer to the gym. None of these changes made the “saints” happy. They were rather “crappy” in their attitude instead.

Of course, I did not last long in the “resident styled” church. I’ve always wanted to be innovative and missional. That hasn’t changed.

If you are thinking about theological education, you might want to read this book.

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