Monday, October 20, 2008

Church Types

A friend just shared this with me; someone at her church has done some research, and has learned that people in a church can basically fall into one of four categories, like so:

Kingdom - These people tend to focus on taking care of the needy, mowing lawns during work-days, printing the bulletin, running the website, setting up Bible studies, knocking on doors. They are the busy workers who are "about the business of the Kingdom".

Mental - These people tend to be academic; they dig deep into the Word, do word-studies, have debates, conduct the Bible studies that the Kingdom people have set up, teach, study the history of the church, make analogies and three-point lessons.

Mystic - These people tend to be ethereal, finding God in Nature as they walk through the forest, hearing God's whispers, "sensing" God's presence, praying for healing, seeing connections in otherwise apparently-unrelated happenings.

Emotional - These people tend to raise their hands in worship, and to cry during emotional songs/sermons, and to be touchy-feely-huggy, and to get excited at what God has done for us today, and to holler out "Praise God" when good things happen.

Few of us, I would expect, fall completely into only one category. For example, I see myself as about 65% Mental, 15% Emotional, 15% Mystic, and 5% Kingdom.

What I would like to point out about this breakdown are two things:

1) People are different, having different needs, and the expression of those differences is not wrong. (It's not wrong for the Emotional people to raise hands in worship, even if it "feels" wrong to the Mental crowd. It's not wrong for the Mental group to want a "thus says the Lord" for every little detail, even if the Kingdom people are more concerned about the practicalities of getting the message out to the world. It's not wrong for the Kingdom-oriented to want to have a "paint the old retiree's house" day, even if the Mystics believe we should put more emphasis on drawing the retiree's spirit into a mood of appreciation for God's handling of the little "coincidental" (*cough*) happenings throughout his life.)

2) When a church (or preacher) focuses on only one area, that church is only serving 25% of the needs of the people in the community. Over time a church itself may collect only like-minded souls; in such a case, it has become unbalanced, and unrepresentative of and unwelcoming to the remaining 75%, and is in danger of becoming convinced that the other 75% are "unscriptural", simply because they are different.

1 comment:

NSK Nikolaos S. Karastathis said...

Actually any human community has sub-communities of people with different mentalities. The unbalance resulting from focus to people of one particular type may also exist in any human community.

A community that focuses only on people with very specific mentalities will almost surely remain small. So, if a community wants to grow then it must cater to all people, but when this happens some people from within the community may feel that the community has lost its clarity and true goals and may want to "fork" it by taking some members to a new community.

So, any community has this problem of how to integrate people with different mentalities without dividing into many successor communities. If a community caters only to mental people, for example, it will remain small and unbalanced. But if it allows anyone to join, then many people will leave founding their own communities. It's basic sociology: people want to be part of a community, but they want their community to be composed of people similar to them. It's not always easy for a community to grow large without being divided into many successor communities.