The Submergent Church: The laws of physics do apply to the local church, btw

The Submergent Church When your church staying above water doesn’t seem to matter anymore

There are a lot of blogs and posts out there on the emerging, emergent and other movements that are now misnomers or defunct. One category has always been with us: The Submergent Church. After all, there are things that keep a church from sinking. Some of those things might seem like common sense. But, we are in the church world where even though we believe God created the laws of physics we hold that they do not apply to us!

Speaking of the laws of physics…

An object at rest tends to stay at rest. Why is this true not only of physics but of The Submergent Church? Staying at rest is an art form. In fact, the activities of a Submergent Church really are more like a greasy buffet where the sheer numbers of options paralyze the uninitiated–or when after partaking we are in a food coma.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In church work we are surprised that when we do something good, there is a negative reaction. So, we would rather not rock the boat and therefore remain calcified. If feeding the homeless makes a mess, then that’s a price that has to be paid. A Submergent Church would rather keep things tidy than deal with a holy mess. Are there any other laws of physics that keep a church submerged?

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

45 comments

  1. “…a holy mess” — I like it. Grace is messy.

  2. “…a holy mess” — I like it. Grace is messy.

  3. “…a holy mess” — I like it. Grace is messy.

  4. “…a holy mess” — I like it. Grace is messy.

  5. “…a holy mess” — I like it. Grace is messy.

  6. Purposeful activity and intended results always require the expenditure of energy, attention to inertia, and the art ok keeping the ultimate goal in mind. Many times churches violate many “natural laws” and a few spiritual laws, in trying to make Everyone Happy, rather than accomplishing the mission of the Church. As stated above, sometimes helping others find Christ is messy, painful, and even inconvient. Almost like childbirth, but often we do not remember that the church has to be either a birthing center or a museum, never both. And life only resides is one of these locations.

  7. Purposeful activity and intended results always require the expenditure of energy, attention to inertia, and the art ok keeping the ultimate goal in mind. Many times churches violate many “natural laws” and a few spiritual laws, in trying to make Everyone Happy, rather than accomplishing the mission of the Church. As stated above, sometimes helping others find Christ is messy, painful, and even inconvient. Almost like childbirth, but often we do not remember that the church has to be either a birthing center or a museum, never both. And life only resides is one of these locations.

  8. Purposeful activity and intended results always require the expenditure of energy, attention to inertia, and the art ok keeping the ultimate goal in mind. Many times churches violate many “natural laws” and a few spiritual laws, in trying to make Everyone Happy, rather than accomplishing the mission of the Church. As stated above, sometimes helping others find Christ is messy, painful, and even inconvient. Almost like childbirth, but often we do not remember that the church has to be either a birthing center or a museum, never both. And life only resides is one of these locations.

  9. Purposeful activity and intended results always require the expenditure of energy, attention to inertia, and the art ok keeping the ultimate goal in mind. Many times churches violate many “natural laws” and a few spiritual laws, in trying to make Everyone Happy, rather than accomplishing the mission of the Church. As stated above, sometimes helping others find Christ is messy, painful, and even inconvient. Almost like childbirth, but often we do not remember that the church has to be either a birthing center or a museum, never both. And life only resides is one of these locations.

  10. Purposeful activity and intended results always require the expenditure of energy, attention to inertia, and the art ok keeping the ultimate goal in mind. Many times churches violate many “natural laws” and a few spiritual laws, in trying to make Everyone Happy, rather than accomplishing the mission of the Church. As stated above, sometimes helping others find Christ is messy, painful, and even inconvient. Almost like childbirth, but often we do not remember that the church has to be either a birthing center or a museum, never both. And life only resides is one of these locations.

  11. Newton’s second law “force equals motion times acceleration” applies to churches gaining momentum in outreach effectiveness or measurable goals. Maybe you should make that your part 2 of this blog post. Or you could talk about leadership thermodynamics, leadership entropy, budget entropy, the perpetual motion church machine. there’s a lot of great places you can take this into a series of posts

  12. Newton’s second law “force equals motion times acceleration” applies to churches gaining momentum in outreach effectiveness or measurable goals. Maybe you should make that your part 2 of this blog post. Or you could talk about leadership thermodynamics, leadership entropy, budget entropy, the perpetual motion church machine. there’s a lot of great places you can take this into a series of posts

  13. Newton’s second law “force equals motion times acceleration” applies to churches gaining momentum in outreach effectiveness or measurable goals. Maybe you should make that your part 2 of this blog post. Or you could talk about leadership thermodynamics, leadership entropy, budget entropy, the perpetual motion church machine. there’s a lot of great places you can take this into a series of posts

  14. Newton’s second law “force equals motion times acceleration” applies to churches gaining momentum in outreach effectiveness or measurable goals. Maybe you should make that your part 2 of this blog post. Or you could talk about leadership thermodynamics, leadership entropy, budget entropy, the perpetual motion church machine. there’s a lot of great places you can take this into a series of posts

  15. Newton’s second law “force equals motion times acceleration” applies to churches gaining momentum in outreach effectiveness or measurable goals. Maybe you should make that your part 2 of this blog post. Or you could talk about leadership thermodynamics, leadership entropy, budget entropy, the perpetual motion church machine. there’s a lot of great places you can take this into a series of posts

  16. How about the First Law of Thermodynamics?”Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only change forms.
    In any process in an isolated system, the total energy remains the same.”

    It is often stated, “In a closed system, there is less and less energy available for work to be accomplished.”

    Hence the great need for evangelism and outreach. Churches should never let themselves become closed systems.

    1. Indeed! The law then is that new people are needed to keep a church thriving and growing–new people equals new believers.
      And …can’t wait to see you and Carlos, Heather!

  17. How about the First Law of Thermodynamics?”Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only change forms.
    In any process in an isolated system, the total energy remains the same.”
    It is often stated, “In a closed system, there is less and less energy available for work to be accomplished.”
    Hence the great need for evangelism and outreach. Churches should never let themselves become closed systems.

    1. Indeed! The law then is that new people are needed to keep a church thriving and growing–new people equals new believers.
      And …can’t wait to see you and Carlos, Heather!

  18. How about the First Law of Thermodynamics?”Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only change forms.
    In any process in an isolated system, the total energy remains the same.”

    It is often stated, “In a closed system, there is less and less energy available for work to be accomplished.”

    Hence the great need for evangelism and outreach. Churches should never let themselves become closed systems.

    1. Indeed! The law then is that new people are needed to keep a church thriving and growing–new people equals new believers.
      And …can’t wait to see you and Carlos, Heather!

  19. How about the First Law of Thermodynamics?”Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only change forms.
    In any process in an isolated system, the total energy remains the same.”

    It is often stated, “In a closed system, there is less and less energy available for work to be accomplished.”

    Hence the great need for evangelism and outreach. Churches should never let themselves become closed systems.

    1. Indeed! The law then is that new people are needed to keep a church thriving and growing–new people equals new believers.
      And …can’t wait to see you and Carlos, Heather!

  20. How about the First Law of Thermodynamics?”Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only change forms.
    In any process in an isolated system, the total energy remains the same.”

    It is often stated, “In a closed system, there is less and less energy available for work to be accomplished.”

    Hence the great need for evangelism and outreach. Churches should never let themselves become closed systems.

    1. Indeed! The law then is that new people are needed to keep a church thriving and growing–new people equals new believers.
      And …can’t wait to see you and Carlos, Heather!

  21. Sure missed you at church yesterday. Just wasn’t the same….

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