Thinking back to my experience in Charlotte, I am amazed at the number of churches doing the exact same types of ministry. How ineffective and un-Christ’s-bodylike. Churches “compete” for new members, but really those new members were old members somewhere else.
“Infrastructure convergence not only eliminates redundant activity across entire federations (if you are Presbyterian, insert Presbyteries); it also creates an environment of complete transparency and shared data, allowing everyone in the federation to see the same reality” (Millenium Matrix, 166).
What if churches in a particular town, city, whatever stopped repeating what was being done somewhere else and began a fresh, new ministry. Or if they really felt called to provide a particularly redundant ministry, what if they were to partner up.
What would happen if someone stood up in a presbytery meeting and said, “I think we should pool all the PC(USA) small groups happening in this town into one conglomerant and desperse new members into these small groups based on geography rather than particular church membership.”* The problem is that we believe our small group ministry is better than 2nd Presbyterians, so we would not want our groups to conglome with them. Well, if my group really is better, then what an opportunity for my small group ministry to lead and equip 2nd’s ministry. Or vice versa.
*From Millenium Matrix: “Home groups might consider forming around those who live within a radius of a few blocks rather than importing members from our own churches who have to drive twenty to forty minutes to participate.”