Flexible Church for Flexible People

Shortcut: People want to make their life more meaningful by GOING somewhere and are open to taking suggestions (aka being SENT). What’s your recommendation for them?

This past week, at what has become THE conference of the hospitality industry (the Skift Global Forum), Brian Chesky, the CEO and Co-Founder of Airbnb, shared a new vision of travel. He said, “40% of those visiting Airbnb are searching destinations WITHOUT a date in mind.” (Video)

They are “flexible.”

Life is travel and travel is life

1) This flexibility comes from the fact, Chesky believes, that the home and office for knowledge workers has become one location and business travel has become more or less unnecessary. Therefore, such persons see that they can be in any physical location to live, vacation, AND work at the same time, staying for longer days at a time, getting the most out of their money.

Life is travel and travel is life.

So much is Airbnb committed to this that they have decided to place a button that says, “I’m flexible,” front-and-center on airbnb.com, which leads them to another page where Airbnb actually SUGGESTS to them where they should go. You should check it out for yourself here.

When Wesleyan-ism meets travel-ism

2) Besides the fact that we all should wonder about the process by which we decide on what is (or should be) front-and-center on our church websites, we need to get the key insight here for ministry:

People want to make their life more meaningful by GOING somewhere and are open to taking suggestions (aka being SENT).

Translate this into our Wesleyan worldview and here’s what I would say:

Regular, everyday people are willing to ITINERATE, given the right mission.

Evolving our thinking about ourselves

3) Thus, what should be born is the “Flexible Church.”

Digital vs. Hybrid vs. In-person is a church-centric dispute that originates in the old world where discipleship required “gathering” and the local church’s greatest characteristic was being physically “local.”

Ministry leaders, please: let that go – be more flexible.

Argue more about what’s best for the disciple in the world of today and tomorrow. They are already on the move – something quite biblical. Will the Church be a part of their life or not?

To do this, here’s some things to think about:

  • Can my church help them see their time in travel as also a personal retreat / mission trip of sorts?
  • Could the experience and reflections of such travellers become curriculum and material for those who are more stationary?
  • Will the Church create titles or positions for such travellers so that they can be officially commissioned by the Church?

Once we understand how discipleship must not be dependent on a facility-based locality of Church, we can design discipleship to be local in proximity to one’s soul.

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Until next Monday, be safe and stay committed to digital, diversity, and dreams!

James from PASTORIA
Head of Guidance