Institutional Irrelevance

Shoreditch Church #1 Shoreditch Church #3 Shoreditch Church #2

One of the shocking juxtapositions in Shoreditch is to see clubs teeming with people and overflowing with a pulsating search for significance all under the shadow of an institutional Christianity that has become a total disconnect. So much so, that the area is full of church buildings that have been converted to other uses.

Such irrelevance is not surprising considering the magnitude of the cultural difference between these archaic symbols of the Christianity of a bygone era and the realities of contemporary urban life under their very eaves. Here are three such examples within several blocks of each other. Two are restaurants. One apartment flats.

To see such resources go to waste when they could be bases for incredible ministry in this context is enough to make one scream if not cry. If our reaction is so visceral to such waste, I cannot imagine how God must weep at such a myopic lack of vision.

4 Responses to “Institutional Irrelevance”

  1. Mark H Says:

    I’m really “enjoying” reading your observations of the UK (my home). Places like Shoreditch (never been there myself) are not so unusual in our cities. Vibrant entertainment but community is falling apart at the seams.

    What gets me excited is when I see unconventional buildings like pubs and clubs being used for the Kingdom. Not very many, but it’s happening. What gets me even more excited is when I see the church on the streets, engaging in true community, in this environment, e.g.

  2. Sam Says:


    Thanks for your observations. I’m sure there must be examples of emerging churches and other creative expressions of the body of Christ in contexts like Shoreditch, but I haven’t come across them yet. My attenea are up and I’m still in the early stages of our time in the UK.

    I could get stoked to get possession of one of these unused facilities and turn it into a club, restaurant or venue that could attract crowds and use it as a platform for buidling relationships in this context.

  3. Mike Says:

    Hey Sam,
    This is what has had us aching, crying, praying, and excited – hence, the birth of Communitas! This is exactly our passion! Great to read your experiences. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  4. Sam Says:

    Mike: Thanks for weighing in. You guys are on the right trajectory in New Orleans! Looking forward to seeing it firsthand.

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