A friend of mine, Lance Ford, asked on his blog whether churches that look like their sending church are a problem.
We definitely have subcultures in the US, so amongst similar strata, we will have churches that look alike - this has happened throughout American history. People need to worship God from where they are, i.e. their own culture, so this is not inherently a problem. However, even with subcultural similarities, no two churches should look the same. Why is that? Any church that looks too much like their parent church runs the risk of violating the priesthood of all believers and 1 Cor.14, where everyone gets to share their gifts with one another. How so?
If churches look like their founders, despite new people joining the church, it is likely that newcomers are not included as full participants in the life of the church. Churches need to reflect those who are there. Worship needs to flow out of the particularisms of the people in the community, not just the founders. Like good missionaries, the founders must create ample space for the contribution of others; the leaders must be strong facilitators as much as they are contributors. If not, it is inevitable that the founders will be the producers, and those that come, the consumers. The result is a franchise or 'cloned' church. But much worse than that, the church is robbed of the gifts that are resident in each member, and they miss the chance to see the kingdom of God in their midst.