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  • Writer's pictureJosh Reading

Movement or Monument? Understanding DIVERGENT CHURCH and it's shape

This is the first in a multi-week series covering the DNA and VISION of DIVERGENT CHURCH

“We are...

"//ONE Church expressing ourself in multiplying community based and focused Churches”


Most businesses, educational institutions, most 'things' people attempt to build are monument oriented, and are often understandably so. They are built to 'last the generations' - stability, security and solvency are of central importance. Control mechanisms and hard structured systems become central.

Whilst monuments have their importance and place in society they primarily tell us something about the past not the present.

That is not what we believe God called us to to be part of as DIVERGENT CHURCH. A movement is quite different. It is primarily centred not on organisational structure (though organic structures must exist) but upon values and vision, upon core convictions and fluidity. Unlike in the monument building environment words such as initiative, innovation and instinct are of central importance.

This is where it gets difficult for some. If one does not buy into the values, vision and people themselves, they will fail to stay within the movement because unsurprisingly it continues to move. Movements tend to move at rapid pace taking twists and turns adapting to changing circumstance, a movement is to water as a monument is to stone.

In a Church/Kingdom of God environment...

A movement is filled with those personally 'devoted' (Acts 2:42). Members are not consumers of a spiritual product rather participants in a community bound by mission.

A monument is filled with those who are firstly concerned as to whether the structure serves them

A movement has mission as it's primary objective, ministry is an outworking of that. Mission is messy

A monument has ministry (maintenance works) as it's primary objective, mission might happen but is a 'side issue'

A movement is lead with vision and values to a place no one exactly knows - flexibility is valued

A monument is maintained by restoration of 'proven' structures to preserve what has been – dependability is valued

A movement will adapt it's structures, shape to survive but not it's core convictions

A monument will adapt it's core conviction's to survive but not it's shape

A movement strives to minimise and de-emphasise complex functions

A monument is primarily admired for it's complexities and attention to detail

A movement is driven by team – people active, connected and working together

A monument is driven by committees that tell the workers what to do

A movement has structure like a body has bones, structure serves the flesh, if you see the bones poking out something is wrong

A monument is centred on structure – it may contain some life but that life “better not make a mess” (cranky grandma voice :)

A movement often looks a little chaotic because it is not about control systems but core convictions. It's core convictions can outwork spontaneously and innovatively through the initiative of people

A monument is all about stable order – if you leave and come back again in a year it will nearly certainly be the same in every way. Any additions will need consistency of shape and order.

A movement's leadership delegates targets – 'that it is achieved is more important than how'. Initiative and innovation is valued.

A monument's leadership delegates task – 'how it is achieved is even more important then it being achieved'. Specifically designed implementation is valued. At DIVERGENT CHURCH we are movement oriented.

We are //ONE Church expressing ourself in multiplying community based and focused Churches'

Where will that take us in the future? I am not entirely sure but it will take us to a place where people are increasingly released to establish connected active communities that are positioned to reach their local community whether such be geographic or demographic. It will continue to take us to a place where we raise and release people to take risks, where the 'unlikely' rise to the occasion showing how God works wonders in the weak.


We will chat about that in the next post covering our Central Mission as a Community on Mission.


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