Introducing the Horizontal Church

The church can only grow horizontallyThe First in A Series of Posts
that Explore How Congregations
Must Change to Meet the Modern World

The Church is frustrated. We know something isn’t working like it used to. We don’t quite know what is wrong.

We have many reactions to our weaknesses and failures.


Most of them are not constructive but protective. Dead end.


While 2×2 reconstructs our site for better delivery of hands-on resources, we’ll explore some of these topics.


We hope they spark some discussion in congregations.


Horizontal Thinking vs Vertical Thinking

The church is structured vertically. We can’t help ourselves. Our roots are in ancient thinking which is tribal and monarchical.


Tribal leaders—Abraham, Moses, Jacob. etc.


Under the tribe comes the family clans. Think the 12 tribes of Jacob—all named after men.


We then enter the monarchical stage of thinking. King Saul, King David, Christ the King.


It was natural to continue that thinking as Christianity spread. We still live in a vertical world. It’s tilting, for sure. But there are still despots and kings and queens and plenty of people who wouldn’t mind playing that role, whether or not they are good at it. They are slowly losing power, but there is still something in our society that remembers them fondly. Even American children who know only the Disneyworld Castle play dress-up with crowns and tiaras.


Democratic republics are still a relatively new concept—we are proud of them, but we struggle. There is always a temptation to return to bigger government.


For the last 30 years change has accelerated. Younger generations will embrace this. In another 50 years people will not understand that it wasn’t always this way.


The horizontal church will embrace lateral thinking.


Power will shift from traditional authorities, wielding power over the needy masses, to the masses no longer needing the powerful’s help in achieving their goals. The powerful may not take to this well!


In the Church, that means the congregations will have less need for central authority and members will be active in congregations only to the extent that their dedication to membership complements their ideals—some of which will not be shaped by religion.


There will no longer be loyalty to group as a continuation of heritage or validation.


This may sound scary. But it shouldn’t.


Christianity laid the groundwork for this a long time ago. Christ empowered individuals. As he roamed about Palestine, Christ didn’t pay a call on the kings. At his “trial” he stood before them as a stranger.


In this series of posts, we will explore step by step, as we, along with thousands of other small congregations, find our way into the future.