Just been reading this post here, which pointed me to Rex Miller’s iGen Manifesto at Relevant. It got me thinking…
So this whole emerging thing is about rethinking church. The primary focus for most is about rethinking how church relates to its surrounding culture, but what Miller is pointing to seems to be a whole lot deeper, and that I like. We are meant to be the ‘priesthood of all believers’; we’re meant to have ‘every member in ministry’, but most churches (we’re talking Western churches, sorry) often don’t get close to that.

So Miller is talking about churches creating Open Source content on demand; about having plenty of real participation, and a capability of all members influencing and sharing in the worship and learning experience. Intriguing… So what does a Wikichurch look like?

I love the idea of increasing participation, about allowing a democratisation of direction in church life and worship. Imagine a church experience that really responded to what God laid on the hearts of the members, rather than only going with what the (often over-worked) leaders managed to pick up and understand. What would that look like? Would it be chaos? Or would we more easily respond to what the Spirit of God is doing in our communities and localities?

I love the idea of Open Source Christian content, whether that is bible notes and preaches, how-to guides on charity set-up, or worship music (recorded or otherwise). I hate the fact that I have to pay for a worship CD, and then again for the song book if I want to play it myself, and then again for the licence to project the words at church. I grew up with Tim Hughes (I like him and I want the guy to eat), but I hate the fact I’m expected to buy his worship music based on what he looks like(!) I know the ‘worker is worthy of his pay’ (more than most!), but surely there are other ways of resourcing the Kingdom than the capitalist model??

Something about what Miller writes really hits me. Are we so caught up in how our socio-political institutions work that we are incapable of viewing ourselves separate from them? We are meant to be ‘in the world but not of the world’; we are meant to do things differently… is Wikichurch something of an answer?

Wikipedia works by pooling the common resources of the wider web community. Not every writer knows their stuff, but gradually, over many iterations, truth (if imperfect) rises to the top. What would church look like, if done the same way?

2 thoughts on “Wikichurch

  1. Surely the bible is a form of wiki. It’s made of many books, by many different writers, written over a long period of time. The physical words have been edited by a ‘community’ of people (although admittedly in order to be allowed to edit it you have had to belong to the ‘club’). The interpretation of the words continues to be edited by the ‘masses’ and each person’s understanding of those words are different.

    In terms of open source worship I think a wiki style worship would quickly devolve into areas where people become uncomfortable with parts of it. I am not religious in any way but those people who I know that are religious, and I’ve known a few, find the details of their faith very personal to themselves. Oh, they agree on the big things like loving thy neighbour and prayer being a good thing but what about the controversial issues such as homosexuality, female priests, stem cell research, GM foods, abortion, the use of condoms…. Everyone has their own ideas about what their faith tells them is God’s Will. Churches never really get into the ‘details’ of the faith unless you belong to a very specialist sect of your particular faith.

    I think you’d find that the things that bind you together are the ‘big things’ but the ‘details’ would tear you apart.

  2. Just found this post…as i was “googling” for anyone else besides me who had ever used the term “wikichurch”. Now i see your blog is a treasure trove. Hope you are writing a book!

    I’ll be back

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