A friend offered this question in a pastor's forum:
"How robust of an institution does a local congregation really need? A side conversation... got me thinking about church organized in a manner of an AA group, or perhaps the Scouts, or little league sports teams - few if any staff at the local level, oversight and organization at a regional level, nimble, and gathering in homes and other community spaces. What think you? Could the church thrive with a much more stripped down, streamlined, loose association?"
To which I replied:
"I think what your describing is similar to both the early church and the church under persecution in China - both cases of explosive growth. If we weren't already *in* such a hugely different paradigm, we might be asking the question from the other side: "How robust could the church be if it tried to operate with a minimum size that was so large you were required to add layers of organization and find special buildings just to even have a meeting?""