Table of Contents
All of us are searching for the impacts that come with bigness and intimacy of smallness, which makes it a hybrid of the two. The book “Hybrid Church” is a guide for leaders and clergy who wish to have the hybrid context. The book is about the experience of leading “Christ the King Community Church”, which has a large number of members that are divided into smaller church groups. It is America’s fastest growing church in innovation and the different steps, necessary for the adoption of forms, best practices and principles of organization. This is true mainly for the micro and mega church models that aim at becoming hybrids and ensure capitalization of the strengths that come with both. Pastor Browning in his book explains how the small churches have the benefits of harnessing prayer in the existing intimate groups with a specific focus on Christ-centeredness and associated comfort. The large or otherwise known as mega churches make use of the momentum, strength of faith and creativity. A combination of these two hybrid characteristics enables the churches to reach out to more people. The most important issue here is reaching out to people, while fulfilling the intended work of churches, which is to bring people to God. The introduction to this book brings out the fact that these two are valid, effective, imperfect, misunderstood, biblical and beautiful churches.
Chapter 1 of the book is Extreme World, which discusses it as a hybrid and well-curve worlds. Chapter three of the Hybrid Church is titled “Beauty of Both/and” with its discussion focus on the poles and spectrum and reach and range issues. In the context of poles, the impact and intimacy in the church are pulling away from one another as much as they are all desirable for the churches in question. There is the application of the well curve to the church. Some issues, such as relationships in the church cannot work with partway. The other issue of importance is a disappearing middle. The main elements here are membership, money and labor. Most of the churches are giving a greater emphasis to membership, while others are dropping in the same. The presence of average givers represents the money issue, while labor represents the ever-shrinking role of involved volunteers. The interplay across spectrums occurs when members of the church seek for both impact of bigness and intimacy of smallness.
The churches today aim at having a balance between the complexity of a church being a close-knit family and as a world-changing army. To attain this balance, the leaders must head their church towards the middle or ensure there is a counterbalance of the edges. It is, therefore, preferable for the church to balance and become extreme for both contexts, which are impact and intimacy. This is another characteristic of Christianity. Instead of being confused between being small and being big, the church adopts big as its network component and small for individual centers and groups. Its expansion instead bases on the strengthening of the core and expansion of the frontier. To avoid the middle ground effects, churches must be willing to go to extremes.
Hybrid as “both/and” Model
In this context, the hybrid has the characteristics of both small and big churches. However, it only picks the best out of both worlds. For a church to accomplish big and great dreams, small actions are still necessary. In the hybrid contest, there is the blending of the micro or small churches with large or mega churches into a philosophical consistent ministry. The both/and model brings out the characteristics of the hybrid church that takes up both bigness impacts and intimacy of smallness, thus developing a hybrid of the two . The main aim of a hybrid church comes with the attempt of pulling it back to a balanced consistency, while maintaining its biblical view. The context of hybrid church, therefore, attempts to meet all the intimacy and impact elements and remain on course when it comes to delivering the will of God to the communities. To attain intimacy, the hybrid churches form smaller groups from the large membership, so that there is close addressing of personal issues.
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Analysis of the Intimacy and Impact Concepts
Intimacy and impact from the church are the key concepts that determine the membership level. As Paul suggests, members associate small churches with intimacy and large churches with impact. Intimacy, in this context, is of a more personal influence to the life of an individual. Here, there is a close interaction with other members of the church through resource contributions and mentorship programs. There is tolerance for new members who are taught different church issues with regards to their Christian life. The importance of the church in this setting is to train people on their relationships with God and others at a more personal and close level. The other aspect of intimacy is authenticity. The personal and close interaction of individuals eliminates the issues of hypocrisy, pride and pretension that may otherwise be present in large churches. Large churches, on the other hand, get their associations with impact . The most common characteristic of these churches is the availability of professionalism with a major focus on excellence. The impact brought about by big churches can be physical. In this case, the churches put up several campuses in different regions or cities to accommodate their large membership. The main features associated with impact are celebrity desires on the part of leaders and the measure of membership. The membership in large churches has qualified training and skills that enable them to make changes and impacts of different levels in their regions. Impact here is also associated with the utilization of technology and innovation, government and donor funds and the ability of churches to network.