An institution is a non-living thing; things have a product life cycle.

This entry is part 66 of 118 in the series Diagnosis, Dialogue, Decision: A DMin Project

Institutions do not adapt; they exist and die, rise and fall. An institution is a non-living thing; things have a product life cycle. Human communities adapt by blending the old and new in harmony.[1] A congregation does not attract postmodern individuals by becoming a postmodern institution, a change which any institution would prevent. Converts bring a rich adaptation to current reality into a Christian community when they are not asked to conform, and their very presence brings the community more into balance with current reality. A congregation becomes postmodern by incorporating (literally) postmodern converts with respect and love. The church with an institutional worldview fails to thrive because it is more focused on rebuilding the temple, an unchanging institution, than on providing the spiritual nurture necessary to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples.[2]





[1] The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

[1]Matthew 13:52.

[2]Jesus indicated in John 2:19-22 his intention to replace the temple, an institution, with the body of Christ, a relational disciple-making network. The potential threat to the temple is the motivation for his execution. Cf. Mark 14:58.

Series Navigation<< A church is a living thing and reborn with each new convert; it does not have a single life cycle.Institutions do not make disciples. They have other goals … >>
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