Here are a few other thoughts that occurred to me on this subject of Startup Communities versus Church Communities. These are in addition to the post I’ve recently written about this, available here:
Each group is exactly the same
You would find exactly the same kind of issues and the same kind of community with any random grouping of startup entrepreneurs – seriously! Even groups in different parts of the country – or even in different countries. The only things that would make a difference are things like regional infrastructure, eg internet provision. So imagine that, I could pick myself up and go to absolutely any startup meeting, and be sure of finding the same issues, and relatively sure of finding the same support. If each group is exactly the same, then it is so straightforward that you would just go to the group that is closest or most convenient for you to get to.
Need I say it? This could not be further from the experience you get in churches. Imagine if you could walk into a church, any church, and be sure of receiving the same warm welcome, and sincerity, and encouragement. Which is not to say that everyone gets on perfectly within these startup communities, of course. However, that does not change the fact that we are all still in the same boat, all experiencing the same issues.
Getting to know you!
These startup meetings are also great neutral venues for getting to know people. Unlike in church, no-one owns the venue. What I mean by this is that no-one present within the startup meeting owns the physical meeting place or is the “boss” over the meeting. Or even when someone does own the premises, or someone is the defined leader, it is the attendees who truly give meaning to each meeting. So you don’t need to subscribe to the leadership of any one individual to keep coming, you don’t need to commit to their theology or their vision. This is what makes it neutral.
One of my big issues for getting to know people in church has been this: if there was a particular person that I wanted to get to know, how would I do that? (I have a principle about getting to know people in safe neutral venues where we can watch one another interact with other people. Especially if the people I’d like to get to know are male!) I would not necessarily want to go to their churches for this reason: while I am in their church I would essentially have to submit to the leadership of their pastor. But if I don’t know their pastor then I don’t know whether their pastor is someone whose leadership I could submit to. I don’t know whether their church is a church I would like to support, or whether I will later regret every second invested there. This has actually been a very real issue in my life. There have been a few people whom I would have loved to get to know, but there was no neutral venue that we had in common that we could both regularly attend, in a lighthearted, informal and inexpensive way – and I was uneasy at the idea of turning up at their churches.
Not just one person
Finally, this is a point that I have already made at length in the earlier post, but I’m now looking at it from another angle. That is, that in the startup community everyone essentially has insights to share, advice to give.
However, in a church, you go along, and week in week out it will be the same person standing up before the congregation, giving insights, advice, as if everyone else is redundant. Once again this is unbiblical. 1 Corinthians 14v26 How in the church can we possibly think that this makes sense? I dislike this standard church model with such a passion. In a church we are all supposed to be living the life, we are all supposed to be able to encourage one another. And oh look, surprise surprise it does not work! The only reason that churches think that their church model is successful is because enough money is generated to keep the wheels on the bus running, that is, to keep putting on services every week. But according to any biblical standards, these churches are immensely unsuccessful. People from outside are not being drawn to faith. Those inside the church are not being discipled to make them powerful instruments for the Kingdom of God. In fact many people who are inside the Church are actually leaving the Church altogether out of disillusionment. The impact of the Church in society is rapidly dwindling, right before our eyes.
I think that the Church needs to open her eyes, quickly, and make changes. (Maybe we need to buy some eyesalve from Jesus – Revelation 3v18) Thanks to the Startup Community that has mushroomed in recent years, a great model is available right in front of us, for us to learn from. I am not saying that we should emulate everything that is done in the Startup Community; obviously we also need to be empowered by the Spirit of God. However the Startup Community does show us that things could so easily be done very differently, without needing any money, even with the same level of spiritual resources that are currently available to us.
1 Corinthians 14v26:
26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
Photo of Startup Meeting by StartupStockPhotos on Pixabay