Cocooning. I first learned about this trend in modern America about 20 or so years ago.
According to Wikipedia: Cocooning is the name given to the trend that sees individuals socializing less and retreating into their home more. The term was coined in the 1990s by Faith Popcorn, a trend forecaster and marketing consultant.
The first time I heard about this trend it was described as someone getting into their car inside the garage. Opening the door. Driving out with the radio on full blast and the windows tightly rolled up.
After work the car returns home. The driver looks neither right of left as they come up the street and press the button to open the door to the garage. They pull in — shut the door — and never leave the house again until the next day.
Today Netflix, cable, and food delivered to the door have only strengthened the trend.
We live in many ways in a state of Isolation.
Sadly I have also noticed that the trend has expanded. It has expanded to churches.
We gather in our buildings. All our programs are inwardly focused. Some churches have even pulled away from camps run by a co-operative effort and are “doing camp themselves”.
Gone are the days when a group of churches in a community would share in regular co-operative services.
Youth Rallys and similar gatherings are hard to find. Instead a congregation does its own youth events with no invitation offered to others to join.
Years ago a church in one town might invite the youth from a church in another town to join in a “Fifth Quarter” event after a football game when their schools played each other.
In church planting circles this cocooning is a big problem. New church plants often rely on neighboring “sister congregations” to help with volunteers, funding, and support for major events.
Now it would seem that a new church plant has to sink or swim on its own.
Maybe I am making this look worse than it is — but I fear it may be moving that way quickly.
Churches need to co-operate. We are on the same side. Especially congregations of the same brotherhood and theological background should not see each other as competition but as brothers and sisters. Do brothers and sisters always agree? Hardly. But they are still family and should be able to sit together for a family meal!
I seem to remember Jesus saying something about a house divided — falling.