Ah…I read the quote referred to about a week ago in Christianity Today and thought Warren’s metaphor using the computer was a bit uninformed. I just put it off as someone in one discipline trying to use a metaphor from another discipline that he really doesn’t understand.
For one, not all computers use Intel. In fact, fewer and fewer do. Also, Windows is not the only Operating System and I sure wouldn’t want to say I was the “windows system for the 21st century” like Warren did. I would hope we would have a bit higher standards especially after Microsoft finally realizes (or admits) Windows is really broken.
Maynard is right on target comparing the traditional model church with Microsoft and the ermegent church with Open Source though. In fact, I’ve felt for a few years that the Open Source model could perhaps help us in the church figure some issues out.
Open Source is about distributive computing and creating. Open Source development needs people who know what’s going on and people who can actually do the work.
The traditional model doesn’t work that way. Basically, you have one entity (could be a pastor or “The Staff ™” who calls the shots. They tell “The Others ™” what to do. As long as “The Staff ™” know what their doing and “The Others” follow along everything is alright. It bcomes a top-down organization which worked in the past, but, isn’t really geared for the present or the future.
The problem, I see, in the top-down model is, “The Others ™” never really get to experience ministry first hand. Sure, they are followers, but they really aren’t experiencing the full move of God in their lives. While they may do what the leaders tell them to do, the experience is top-down (Although I should compare top-down to Top-down)
I’ve often wonder how we can have UM churches that have people who have been a part of it for years and decades, yet, they are unequiped to really do ministry. Sure, they might paint a building or two over the years, or give money, or work with kids at VBS, but really, do their day to day lives reflect a ministry or missional mindset.
There are some and, thank God for them, who have been able to rise above and discover God’s call on their lives. They are not Purpose-Driven ™, but rather Spirit led. God moves in their lives. They know what they’re about.
Perhaps I’m just ranting and I’m sure I’ve gotten off topic. The bottom line is this: I believe we, as the church, have stopped equiping and empowering Christians to make a difference in the world in which they live. Instead we have created followers of programs.
If there isn’t a DVD or book, or training involved, we don’t know what to do. We have forgotten how to listen for God’s Spirit moving in our lives. We study our Bibles, but do we allow God to speak through them?
There are some connections between Open Source software development vs. Traditional (read Microsoft) software development and the Emergent Church vs. Traditional Church. Perhaps I can flesh that out some more. The thing to remember is Microsoft is finding out the old software model doesn’t work. We, in the church, are discovering the old model doesn’t work. Yet, just as it is very difficult for Microsoft to change, so it is for us.