Is Your Church a Monument or Mission Station?

Have we, in our enthusiasm to get home to heaven, forgotten the fundamental reason for the church’s existence in the community?

Looking back focus.

Monument thinkers mostly look back to how things used to be or how things were done back when. It is more to do with preservation than innovation. Forward thinking is very hard to come by in a monument culture and is usually not tolerated.

Surrounded by ceremony and tradition.

A monument culture is heavily guarded on all sides by a way of doing things that must be preserved at all costs. Deep and long held traditions are seen almost as sacred as the monument itself and, like it, are immovable.

Honors the dead.

Monuments are usually about honoring the fallen and dead. In monument cultures, there may be plaques in the gardens, on the walls or on benches dedicated to members who have passed on or to honor those who were once “with us.”

Unchangeable.

Adding or removing something from a monument is akin to a criminal offense. The reason for this unchangeable culture is that the monument itself has become a personal object of worship and serves best those who are attached to it in some familial or historical way.

Narrow in focus.

Monuments are erected for a specific cause or reason. Stray outside that cause and you will land yourself in hot water. Other kinds of ceremonies or even other traditions are not tolerated in a monument culture. ‘Get with the program’ or else ‘get out’ is the clear message. The needs of the proverbial few outweigh the needs of the many in a monument culture.

Doesn’t perform any other function.

A monument is just that—a monument. There is no function other than a place to come, remember, do one’s duty and walk away. It serves no purpose other than the one it was designed to serve—to remain an icon of what was and will always be. 

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Mission stations, on the other hand, are known for these characteristics: