Are You Trying to Build a LEGO Church?

I loved building with Legos when I was a kid. (If I could make a living at it I’d probably still spend most of my time playing with Legos) My experience, however, was different from most. Instead of pre-designed kits, every year at Christmas my parents gave me a bag of miscellaneous Lego parts. (They had a hookup at the local Lego factory where they could buy Lego rejects cheap.) I never had instructions to follow or a picture to guide me; my only blueprint was my imagination. From the same bag of spare parts I built airplanes and spaceships and the Empire State Building. Many battles for New York were fought in my bedroom long before the Avengers arrived on the movie screen. While my creations weren’t that ascetically pleasing, there was incredible freedom for creativity because I didn’t have a template to follow.

Legos are a different experience now. Every box is designed to build a specific model. If you want an airplane you buy an airplane model, if you want to build the London Bridge you buy the $239 kit. Everything is pre-packaged and comes with full-color, step-by-step instructions. It’s all been figured out ahead of time and all you have to do is follow the instructions exactly and you’ll get exactly what is on the cover of the box.

I’m concerned that church planting, and church leadership in general, is going down the trail of Legos. Rather than an individual vision of what God has called us to do in a particular place at a particular time using the gifts and leaders he has given us, we find the church kit that we like the best. There’s the Elevation Kit, the NewSpring Kit and the Mars Hill Kit as well as the Saddleback and Willow Creek kits. Some leaders see the New Testament Church as the ultimate church building kit. If we can follow the instructions precisely then we can build an exact replica of the church Paul built to reach Greeks in the 1st century.

Learning from other churches and other leaders is important, but replicating models is boring in Lego world and ineffective in church world. Each church model is created for a certain time and a certain place utilizing the specific gifts and imaginations of specific leaders. Even the apostle Paul gave us principles to follow rather than a model to re-create. Unless you have a lot of 1st century Greeks in your community, replicating the church at Ephesus might be challenging.

As church planters, pastors and leaders God gives us a bag of Legos with which to build His church rather than a model and a blueprint. He gives us principles and parameters, but he expects us to use our gifts, leadership and imagination to build a unique church to impact the unique culture and unique time in which we live. Building without a blueprint is messy and challenging, and there’s no guarantee that what you build will look anything like you thought it would when you started. But it is a lot more fun than just following the instructions.

Read more from Geoff here.

Download PDF

Tags: , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Geoff Surratt

Geoff Surratt

Geoff lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife Sherry (CEO of MOPS International). Geoff and Sherry have two awesome kids (Mike and Brittainy), a wonderful daughter-in-law (Hilary) and the most beautiful granddaughter on earth (Maggie Claire) Geoff has served on staff at Seacoast Church and Saddleback Church. He is now the Director of Exponential and a freelance Church Catalyst and Encourager.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Yea! You fixed it!
 
— Mr. Troy Reynolds
 
I just discovered this today and am looking forward to exploring the content on here. It looks like it could be very helpful. Just an FYI - in your paragraph on not putting out B+ material you have a typo. A little ironic. :-) The third sentence begins with "You time" not "Your time."
 
— Troy Reynolds
 
I'm lost, to say the least! As a new pastor, taking over a newly started church I have read just about everything there is to learn what I can do to grow the church. I truly beleive that those attending our church are friendly and sincere. So that can't be the issue. I have read all the comments to this article and I feel that most churches will never have a fair chance! We are a VERY small church, so we don't have a children's church (yet). So if a family comes and gets upset that we don't have a children's church for them to put their children into, we lose! We do provide things for their kids to do during the service and even have an option for their kids to be in a different room, if they don't want their kids to sit with them. We are also such a small church that we don't have a worship team/band/etc. Our worship music comes from music videos. The congregation we do have likes it this way, but of course we would love to have a worhsip team. So, if someone comes to our church and is upset that we don't have live music, we lose! The point I am trying to make is that when people come in with preconceived ideas of what a church should be like, they will never find a church home, unless they find a church who's goal is to entertain! Every Sunday our message comes from the Bible, so that can't be a complaint for someone, so instead, people leave the church and never come back because they want more from a church: they don't want friendly people who are following the Word of God; they want a church that give them something (a babysitter for their kid, entertainment, free gifts, etc.) I'm sorry if sound cynical, I truly want everyone to hear the Good News and learn about Christ's love, but if they come in looking for something else, then the church will always lose!
 
— JAG
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.