Why would you come to my family reunion?

In November of 2010 I attended a conference in which Brian McLaren noted the differences in movements and institutions

Movements are organizations which call institutions to new social gains.
Institutions are organizations which conserve the gains made by past movements.

Both are important and both are needed.

Lately there seems to be a trend in the UMC circles I move that the UMC needs to reclaim being a movement and move away from being an institution.  And that language is very populist and raises a lot of "amens" from a usually silent UMC congregation.

With all the rhetoric of getting back to a movement as a denomination, there seems to be a bit of a disconnect going on with the implementation of that "movement talk."

What I mean is that is all the talk of reclaiming "movement status" we still put a lot of emphasis on the importance of the institution.  That is to say we still place a ton of emphasis on the importance of worship.

While I think worship is important I am not sure it is helpful that only one aspect of the church is elevated to most important.  This elevation of worship sets up a potential to actually worship worship.  So you end up getting things like the worship wars.

Let me share an example I have been pondering.

You do not want to come to my family reunion.  It is nothing personal about you or me, it is just when you come to my family reunion you will be subject to hear from people you do not know, about things that happened in the past to people you never knew.

Family reunions are the institutional aspect of the family movement.

Family reunions capture the stories of the past.  People break break together.  People recall celebrations and advances the family made over the years.  (Sounds a lot like worship...)

Why would you come to my family reunion?  You were not a part of the movement of my family.  You were not a part of the movement when my dad followed his dream and hit many obstacles.  You were not there when my grandmother and grandfather moved in with us.  You were not there at graduations or birthdays.

You are not interested in the institution of my family unless you have been a part of the movement of my family.  Which is why my wife, who has been apart of our family for 10 years is more comfortable at our family gathering than you might be.  She has been a part of the movement of our family.  She appreciates the institution and works to keep it moving.

Because we have elevated worship as the "most important thing we do" as a church, we have made the most important thing an institutional aspect of our Church.  And why would anyone who has not been apart of the movement sides of the Church want to be apart of the institutional sides of Church?

So my beloved Church, let us consider that while the institution is important, people will only be interested in preserving it if they were apart of the movements of the Church.