In his well-researched and documented treatise, Astoundingly Joyful, Amazingly Simple, Dr. Timothy White puts forth the appealing concept of the meta-church model as experienced through the history and development of The Washington Cathedral in Redmond, WA.
Not to be confused with the “mega-church” paradigm that has attracted and formed huge congregations for the last three decades, the meta-church model is rooted in the desire to emulate the organic (decentralized, nonhierarchical) nature of the church as described in the book of Acts.
White’s ministry, a “complex group of living organizations,” now includes 12 congregations, five non-profits, and at least 150 outreach-oriented home groups called “Tiny Little Churches.” From the Washington Cathedral’s humble beginning in White’s living room in 1984, his desire to “create the greatest caring network the world has ever seen” permeates every facet of this ever-changing (by design) and ever-expanding church. Using business tools from Seattle’s technology wizards and wisdom from God’s Word, White leads by example and in faith to serve people and demonstrate the love of Christ. He sees each new person who participates in any of the church’s outreaches as a miracle and a “friend for the rest of my life.”
Innovation keeps the meta-church fresh and relevant, yet always grounded by its “incarnational” and “missional” core values. The idea is to embrace and even encourage diversity among believers, whether through language, ethnicity, worship style, age, or culture—so that the meta-church transcends a place where people gather on Sunday morning. Its members “are” the church in their neighborhoods, in the marketplace, and even in the poverty-stricken reaches of Honduras.
Well written and highly praised by many respected leaders of diverse faiths, this outstanding book is a must-read for anyone looking to build or attend a thriving Christian church, or simply to get a fresh perspective into what “church” can look like.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.