"Anyone who has been to seminary knows that Arthur Flake was the father of the modern Sunday School. One of Flake's principles for growing a church's Sunday School could be summarized in the words "build it and they will come." Flake assumed that Sunday School would always be the primary means of outreach for churches. For decades, he was right, especially in the post-World War II baby boom years. In growing suburbs across America, virtually all you had to do was build a church, throw open the doors, and find yourself in need of even more space very shortly. Whole generations of pastors and educators were trained in that paradigm of church growth.
Flake's formula failed to take two major factors into consideration. For one, a day was coming in the post-modern world where, in many places, Sunday School would cease to be the most effective way of reaching people. The major flaw in Flake's paradigm was that church growth was too narrowly defined by how many people you could get into the church building on Sunday morning, a standard most Baptist churches still use to define the success of their professional leadership.
Another factor overlooked by Flake's formula was the natural tendency of church people to become territorial. After a few weeks in the same room, that room becomes the exclusive domain of the people who meet there for one hour a week.
The result was the billions of square feet at a cost of uncountable billions of dollars have been built since WWII that sits empty for seven days a week, except for one hour on Sunday. The back-hook of territorial thinking is that, before long, the building owns the church, literally defining and driving the church's mission."
The comments above are from Glen Schmucker in an article he wrote entitled "Survivor: The Story of a Pastor and a Church" shortly after resigning from Cliff Temple Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, reprinted in the Fall 2008 edition of Christian Ethics Today.
Glen's insight seems keen. I often wonder in our churches, denominations and Christian ministries how many times we let the established program, the buildings, the overheard and traditional annual budgets, the fear of change and loss of personal influence, and the crystallized mentality of "That's the way we've always done it" drive our purpose and mission vision?