Why Tents are Best: Sojourning as a Prime Ministry Strategy
We like the phrase 'soft architecture' not least because it brings to mind edible structures, but primarily because of the functionality implied. Christianity is a missionary religion. In many ways our faith was birthed in a syncretic impulse, taking fundamentally Jewish concepts, commitments, and creeds and translating them into a plethora of non-Jewish cultural paradigms. As such we must stay flexible with our practices.
We are committed to a person, not a tradition; to a grand strategy, not a particular set of practices; to a community, not an institution.* This necessitates that our fundamental posture towards life and ministry must be that of a pervasive flexibility. We must constantly be learning, re-evaluating, listening, and re-organizing.
In short, we are sojourners; our philosophy of life must be nomadic, we cannot afford to built permanent structures, because then we will be committed to maintaining THEM instead of what is central. This applies to everything we do; worship styles, preaching styles, small group ministries, children's ministry; as well as things like how we pray, what books we read, where we spend our money, and how we organize our time; it even applies to where we work, how we raise our children, and the theological commitments we have made.
*This, of course, doesn't need to imply that traditions, practices, or institutions are evil, or even avoidable, merely that they aren't primary. Indeed, they should only be implemented insofar as they aid the pursuit of what IS primary; Jesus, Mission, and Church.