In InterVarsity we love customization. We want everything contextualized. We love to redesign, to reengineer.
Some of this flows from our decades-long connection to university culture, where the new is always en vogue and rapid student turnover provides us with extremely short memories.
Our Small Group leadership structure seems to change every year. Our Small Group (witnessing community) strategy for campus outreach and impact "is new every morning" (to quote the Psalmist).
But we live on the tail end of an era when bigger is considered better, when in the business world big, national brands thrive and survive. But in the Christian world, the big brands - also known as denominations - are deeply struggling. And most of those struggles have to do with identity and contextualization.
I'm thinking about this today because we've been spending a lot of time this week with our friends April and Zach, who run a cottage industry that provides homemade baked goods to local food lovers. Their stuff is better (in part) because April is an extremely gifted baker and (in part) because the food is local, fresher, custom.
I wonder if the future will be full of local cottage industries or full of big-boxes; whether we'll see a proliferation of denominations or local Small Group upon Small Group, expanding and adapting to change the world.
My money's on the local.