Missional “Surface Area”. Part 2

I like to take the idea of church impact as related to what I think of as “surface area”. In chemical reactions and heat transfer (to name two things) the rate is proportional to surface area of the relevant bodies (warm versus cold bodies, or reacting chemicals). This goes back to the organic idea. If the boundaries of an organism is its membrane, that is where it interacts with the outside environment. One might say that the church also has such a membrane. Take a fairly extreme case. Case A might be a communal closed society which interacts with the outside environment only through goods and services.

Case A,       Church Building Focused Ministry

Church AMinimal Interaction with Outside World

Case B.  Church with Modest Local Outreach

Church Building Focused Ministry  Moderate Interaction with outside World

Church B

Case B may be a more typical church. It meets at one place and has members that have a certain amount of interaction with neighbors and businesses. They may send money to local ministries or mission boards and such (as shown by the greater surface area).

Case C.  Multisite or Cell Group Church

Church C

Local church with outlying sites 1, 2, 3, and 4

Case C may be a multisite church or a cell group church or a church with members doing ministry work at a distance from the church.Church Multiple Local Points of Ministry Work Greater Involvement with Local Community

Case D. Church with Multiple-Levels of Outreach, Local, Regional, International

ChurchWe can take the case D where the church is actively involved in ministry work throughout the world.


Which case has more effective interaction with the community and world? All else being equal, it would be the one with the greater “surface area”. One can, of course, imagine exceptions, but Case D is set up to have more impact wherever it is.

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