Would Regionalism Work for the Church?

I was in a community program recently talking about regionalism. 

Websters defines regionalism as: 

1 a: consciousness of and loyalty to a distinct region with a homogeneous population 
b: development of a political or social system based on one or more such areas

2: emphasis on regional locale and characteristics

This particular gathering was a regional leadership development program sponsored by regional economic development groups. We were representative of several adjoining counties trying to decide how we could work together better to promote the greater interests of everyone in the region.

We could promote each others activities for tourism. We could share information that helps each of us better compete globally. If one company is a better fit for another county than for ours, we could suggest the other county. We could realize that what is good for one county is good for the entire region. 

Simple stuff but huge realities were shared. 

People in economic development are thinking regionalism and it was fun to put my business and former political hat back on again. 

But I couldn’t help but think, if people in economic development are thinking regionalism…

Should churches?

Would it even work?

Could churches do a better job in their regions if they came together for a common good?

I recognize some of the fears and hesitancy towards regionalism. The mixing and perhaps confusion of messages. The conflict of styles and traditions. The threat of a loss of individuality or control. The uniqueness of cultures.

I’m not suggesting it would be easy. Nothing really good ever is easy.

But, is regionalism something the church should consider?

That’s all I’m asking.

Maybe we could start by asking questions such as…

What are our shared values?

What are common goals?

What are initiatives we can do together?
How can your church help my church?

How can my church help your church? 


Worth considering for the church?

Or am I bringing too much of my business background into the church again? 

Just wondering.

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11 thoughts on “Would Regionalism Work for the Church?

  1. In today's economic climate and spiritual duress I believe regionalism or even localized targeted mission work would go a long way in enhancing the "Great Commission". For some reason there is a belief that services such as daycare, urgent care, pediatric care, geriatric care, pantries, young people programs, schooling and such like are just one-offs, separate small business enterprises (SBU's) and/or municipalities programming. I believe that we need to think away from building churches with pew potatoes, and start building dynamic programming that encourages people to have "skin in the game" for all families. That would require strategic and targeted growth within specific mission focused work. It would also require churches when large enough break away to move towards building another within its region and focused on specific programming all the while sharing the same mission and churches connectivity. We seem to be stuck in building the church, get thousands to the same brick and mortar, breakdown the intimacy of service and employ the 20/80 rule "where 20% of the people do 80% of the work", yet the church that has a few thousand members we are calling this type of construct successful. I tend to disagree. We are all called to weigh in as a family to serve others (in whatever capacity), and to build the foundation of service within our community beside evangelising by setting this Christ like example to intimate services. This old model of church building is not working.

  2. There are distinct differences between different areas. Because of these, the needs tend to be different and thus the approaches are also going to be …..different.
    That being said, it is the differences that tend to be the most surprising! For instance- There is a college town not too far from my town, and the Churches there are usually larger. One Church, in particular, was having an evening meal on Wednesdays just before Bible study, one of the members of the Ministry team at my Church was listening to people talk about their meal time and the fact that it was just before Bible study. He got the idea to have breakfast; At first it was just the Youth in the Youth room, but he expanded to have the entire Church get together in the Christian Life Center, share breakfast, then go to class.
    The idea he had was not what the other Church had in mind, but I think that is kinda the point. No one idea is etched in concrete, we can do what we need to make it work, point is we found what another was doing that was working and expounded on that! It is still in the early stages, but it does seem to be fairly successful.
    Twitter: bryankr

  3. We are believing in this at Mission Church in the burbs of Chicago. We have named our region "The 10". 10 towns that we are restoring to the fullness of their potential. 10 towns surrounded by more popular regions of the metropolitan. Great question!

  4. Hey Ron,

    Always love following you because you are in my hometown of Lexington, KY (went to LCA at Immanuel back in the day)! I think the idea of regionalism in use and practicality is much less about church to church but rather church to community organizations. I think asking the question to other churches what values do we have as the same is valid but not as effective (we all hopefully hold to the same core foundational values). And this perspective probably comes more from my LifeChurch.tv influence, but I think regionalism is more effective for the church and community when churches align their core values with community organizations that are just getting it right. Regionalism becomes less about how do we serve church-to-church and becomes the church serving the community. With this each churches values and strengths can be activated in the community and regionally the "outside" world sees churches as a part of the community not trying to form their own. Does that make sense?

  5. I suggested in an elder’s meeting once that we get materials from other churches and have an area where visitors could see what other churches were in the area and see what they were about. That way if what we were doing didn’t fit their family they’d have resources to find somewhere that would.

    No one else really agreed.