Acts 8:1 “A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria.”
Over the weekend a friend from our church said something that caught my attention. “I’m starting to realize the benefits of Solomon’s Porch’s decentralized model. Because we focus so much on house churches, if there’s ever any shock to the system, we can continue to thrive.”
I’ve been thinking about decentralization lately in the context of crypto. Storing information on a decentralized blockchain is slower and more expensive than on a centralized repository. But the benefit of decentralization is that you don’t need to trust a central authority.
When you think about churches, there are many reasons why one might not trust a centralized authority. We’ve seen some of the church’s greatest leaders embroiled in scandal in the past months. We’ve seen government authorities in places like China shut down church gatherings. We’ve seen a global pandemic force church communities to find distributed ways of engaging.
Francis Chan has experienced first-hand and written extensively about the issues around centralized megachurches. One of his arguments is that early church looked nothing like the cappuccino serving, concert light consumer-minded church services that many of us have become used to.
In Acts 8:1 we see that persecution from central authority led to an incredible spread of the gospel because the early church could operate in a decentralized way, led directly by the Holy Spirit. I do believe the centralization will continue to have some role to play, but I'm increasingly excited by what God is going to do in the church using decentralized technology. He’s already been doing it through decentralized communities for thousands of years.
Lord, I can’t even begin to imagine what you have in store. But I know it’s gonna be so amazing. Because you are so amazing. I thank you for being such a loving father. In your son’s name, Amen.