About 16 months ago, we talked about Beta Church, or seeing church ministries as unfinished, incomplete ministries that people could participate in. We also looked at allowing “beta” ministries to grow unbounded in various ministry contexts in our first series “What the Church can Learn from Wikipedia.”
At the Theology After Google conference (why, oh why didn’t I attend?) Philip Clayton talked about having a Beta Faith, which is beyond simple church ministry structure towards a faith that is always malleable and in process. Homebrewed Christianity has an hour-long podcast that is really really interesting to listen to. Some excerpts:
[7:50] Beta version is something that apple or windows programmers have put together. You get to try it out, then you get to send them feedback. The very early releases were really primitive programming…didn’t have the functionality of Word today or something. But you could write macros. And what those of us who were computer nerds did, we wrote macros and then make shortcuts for virtually every key on our keyboard. We took that basic program but what we actually used had our needs and our interests and our creativity built into it…Beta Faith is a faith where we take what’s given, and we bring the creativity, the responses, the questions that we have, and help to make it better.
10:30: What if we could conceive of the church in that beta sense, in process, always renewing, always experimenting in an age where we haven’t been given the easy institutions of our parents and grandparents?