An implosion is simply the opposite of an explosion. In an explosion, matter and energy fly outward, but in an implosion, matter and energy collapse inward. All implosions will need some sort of pressure from the outside pushing in to cause the object to collapse.
Articles like this one: “Another Mega Church Implodes” Are not rare. Former fomenters of energy from within the church now stand outside of her and exert pressure in such a way that hopefully causes collapse.
It seems like there are more and more folks who are waiting around to see the church as we know it implode. Not destroyed, mind you… just brought to its knees, so to speak, and to a condition in which it has to start from scratch.
What is ‘the scratch’ from which a church starts?
My gut reaction is to cheer this sentiment on. In fact, I’d be inclined like help the process along a bit. But then I think, “Is this desire spiritually healthy?” or “Is this what you think God wants?” (Talking to myself)
And then, Paul the apostle’s words come to mind;
“And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them.” (Romans 16:17)
How easily could one who desires to see the church implode and actually takes measures to speed that process along be tagged as ‘divisive’ or ‘heretical?’ The thing is, there’s a caveat in the verse above, “Teaching things contrary to what you have been taught.”
What if most institutional practices are contrary to what Jesus taught?
If the church, like the universe, is supposed to expand (mission) and contract (gather), then it seems natural for the church to have a pulse. Excessive gathering without mission is a sign of heart disease. I have claimed, and I still believe, that the institutional church in its current forms, is the biggest impediment to God’s mission. All you have to do is look a church budget. Does the bulk of a local church’s resources, people, time, and energy go into sustaining itself as a dispenser of religious goods and services, or the Missio Dei (Mission of God)?
What if church as you know it,
is the biggest impediment to church as Christ would have it known?
If it is true that our ecclesiastical machinations are actually standing in the way of being a fruitful and growing church, then shouldn’t we want to “demolish it and every other pretension that sets itself up against the already revealed will of God and we take prisoner the thoughts disobedient to Christ? (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Just to be clear, I am not suggesting any form of active violence towards people, but humble pressure exerted with wisdom from outside of systems towards the center which is Christ. Implosion then, is not destruction, but discipleship.
I know, there’s much more in scripture that talks about ‘building others up’ etc., but how much building is being done over already faulty foundations? Twenty minutes from where I live now there are an estimated 70 buildings whose foundations we irreparably damaged by recent earthquakes. As much as the owners of those buildings may want to fix the walls and replace the windows, they will never be safe again. The only wise thing to do is demolish the buildings, tear up the foundations and start from scratch.
Do we work within an all but defunct system to change it’s paradigms?
Do we leave the system to it’s own devices and see what happens?
Do we actively participate by taking actions to speed its impending implosion along?
Is there another option?