As I enter a new year, I am trying to think of new ways to be creative in my thinking about all things church: institution, leadership, growth, structure, mission, evangelism, etc.  One of the concepts that has been bouncing around my noggin for the the past couple of years is an idea that I mentioned in a 2007 post, The Long Tail Church.  This idea of what church could be is based off of the "Long Tail" effect that is explored by Chris Anderson in his book, The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More. Yes, this is a business book about the online music industry, but I have always felt that it was REALLY not just about economic trends, but a look at cultural and technological shifts that manifested themselves in the world of online music.  In fact, it has always made sense to me that some of those trends, played out in the development of Christian community can lead to some pretty exciting times for people who understand themselves to embody the heart of those shifts: The Long Tail Church.

Some folks have done some thinking about this: Glen Frazier, The Ministry Long Tail and Church Marketing Sucks, but I am going to flesh it out even more over four weeks in January.  I have never done a blog series like this – again, trying something new – so below are brief snapshots of what I will cover every Wednesday of the the first month of 2k9.

  • Part 1 // 01.07.09 // An introduction to "Long Tail Church"- An introduction to the  history, development, attributes and elements of the "Long Tail" effect in general and what possibilities are presented in the possibilities of becoming a "Long Tail Church".
  • Part 2 // 01.14.09 // The church in a "Long Tail" world – A look at where we are as a church in comparison to the "Long Tail" culture.  This includes some assessment of of some of the disconnects between current church and "Long Tail" communities as well as some general characteristics of a "Long Tail Church."
  • Part 3 // 01.21.09 // Becoming a "Long Tail Church" – Some of the effects and challenges of being and/or becoming a "Long Tail" church.  This will mainly focus on how we measure success, the roles of professional clergy and our general approach to ministry.
  • Part 4 // 01.28.09 // The great hope of the "Long Tail Church" – Using a few examples of some "Long Tail Church" Communities and how they live out their lives, this will focus on the possibilities for numeric growth as well as spiritual relevance.

So there you have it.  A little early self-inflicted blogging discipline for me to being the year.  Oh yeah, let me also acknowledge that the "we" that I will am addressing is obviously heavily influenced by my role as pastor of Mission Bay Community Church and as Moderator of the PC(USA) but will do my darndest to be relevant far beyond these immediate communites.   Let me know if you have any questions, thoughts, etc. along the way and lets see how it goes.

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