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  • Writer's pictureAlice J Stewart

Bees, Habitats, and Your Church

I ran across a brilliant business idea the other day: Micro Museums.  

Here’s the general idea as explained in Amanda Schochet’s TED Talk**:

Bees can survive in a stressful and resource-poor environment by utilizing micro-habitats - little islands of resources they can survive on and little places to hole up.  It’s a living, as the old saying goes.  The point is, it’s a survival.  They just need to hold on a little while longer until we can improve their environment. 

Amanda Schochet got to thinking about this and came up with the concept of the Micro Museum**, a distributed micro-habitat for museums.  Museum attendance has incredibly narrow demographics.  What would happen to museums if more people didn’t go to them?  That could happen easily!  

Now… what would happen if you took the museum to the people?  It turns out, the Micro Museum is wildly popular, reaching a much broader demographic and creating win-win-win solutions all over the place.  I imagine it might whet the appetite for the larger museums, too.  

Micro museums not only solve a museum problem by distributing themselves in and as micro-habitats, they also solve other problems and connect communities, creating greater strength and survival within the entire “ecosystem.”    

Of course, you know exactly why I love this when it comes to smaller, shrinking and struggling churches.  But my interest goes beyond “pub church” or other innovations where we can bring the church to the people.  This is a topic that will require a lot of unpacking - later.  Right now, I’m interested in the concept.  And I’m going to introduce to you another relevant ecological concept. 

You see, like Amanda Schochet, I know a good bit about environments and species from my first career in Anthropology.  

I know about something called a “relict” or “relic” population**.  This is where a species or population of a species is cut-off for a long period of time.  They can live in micro-climates or other isolated areas, but can’t leave or find resources elsewhere.  They are incredibly fragile.  Any kind of change can wipe them out.  

If we pretend museums could be like a relict species in some fictional future, it would be as if there were one museum per continent.  Maybe the Smithsonian in North America and the Louvre in Europe.  How many people would go to those museums?  Precious few.  The knowledge and experience of so much that museums hold would be essentially lost.  And any “challenge” could wipe the museums out entirely.

So… What might happen if we lose our smallest churches?  If our moderate-sized churches suffer failure?  In a few years - 20 at the most - we will likely see the largest churches of a denomination surviving in a large urban center.  Few others may survive, unless we take innovative action.  

What might happen if our mainline denominations become relics, in the ecological sense?  

It is beyond tragic to lose an entire bee population in an area because they starve.  The environment needs these bees.  More than that, if bees become a relic species, we could lose them all.  I promise you, this is dire.  

Likewise, museums.  Likewise, churches.  

A distributed network of micro-habitats can help the survival of an organization, those an organization seeks to serve, and their communities.  

The first step is to realize that your survival, your small or struggling church, is crucial.  We all need you to survive.  Each and every one of you.  

The next step is to take the next step.  

What is your next, best step to ensure your survival?  How can your church survive and thrive while small, distributed, flexible, adaptive - whatever it takes to survive?

Need a helping hand?  Grow+Small is here to make sure you survive.  Contact us today.  


** MICRO website:

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