The Gruen Effect, episode 163 of the podcast 99% Invisible, shares the story of an architect who desired to build third places for those living in suburban areas. The idea morphed over time and became what we now call the "shopping mall". The shopping mall was a shell of what Victor Gruen imagined and since their peak in the 1990's shopping malls have been in decline. The last new indoor shopping mall was built in 2006.
This does not mean that Americans are less consumeristic and thus the mall is no longer financially stable. People shop and spend but now there is a massive trend not only to move away from the indoor shopping mall but to move toward "lifestyle centers".
When I heard this story, I could not help but think about the Church. Specifically how the Church has had the mall mentality and how there needs to be a shift. The Church could/should shift to lifestyle centers mentality. Church is not someplace you attend, but something you live. Religion is not something that is separate from your life but interwoven into it.
As Churchill once said, "We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us." Christianity has shaped the faith around buildings (like malls) and we now come to think that our faith is separate from our lives. So what would it look like for Christianity to move away from the mall mentality of doing Church? What sort of ways would a lifestyle center sort of Church shape Christians in the next 100 years?