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4.09.2010

Unbundling church?

Super-profound thought here!

There's been lots of talk lately about "unbundling" higher education. The metaphor given in the conversation is the record industry, where songs were "bundled" into albums -- you bought all the songs at once, mixing in the good with the bad (where the former subsidized the latter).

The latest observation is that at universities, you can't just join the chess club or take one class -- you "enroll as a student" and get a whole bunch of "services" like free campus comedians and basketweaving classes and weight room access, some of which you take advantage of and some of which you don't, but all of which you really pay for. The talk now is about "unbundling" university services -- e.g. let students take one class for a fee -- because if you don't, they're going to figure out a way to do it (e.g. take a class from University of Phoenix and then transfer the credit to a university that's willing to accept it).

Got the idea?

I wonder if there's value in using the same "bundling" language to describe church services.

Think about it. On a typical Sunday morning, you have some sort of adult teaching hour or "Sunday School" or Bible Study. Then there's the "worship service" which consists of singing, observing a performance or two, giving money, hearing about upcoming events, prayer, communion (sometimes), and a teaching sermon.

It's a package deal. I suppose you could show up late for the sermon (or leave early before the sermon, depending on your preferences), but that's seen as tacky; most people take the whole thing, the "good" with the "bad".

But... today's "televangelists" have "unbundled" that and offer the teaching/sermon separately.

And while not terribly popular, things like the iWorship DVD series offer the "worship" portion (missing the collective element, of course), and finding a good religious "performance" on radio or YouTube or even PBS is easy.

I even saw Perry Stone talking about taking communion at home (on a Paula White show a year or so ago -- consider the source, but it's an interesting concept at least).

I have no idea how today's church service compares to the church in Acts (which, I suppose you could argue, was even more "bundled" as they lived life together in community)... but I wonder if this "unbundling" is going to be the wave of the future in the church community?

Thoughts? Any other examples that I'm missing?

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