In farming, a silo is a tower used to store grain.
The business world, however, turned silo into a metaphor, such as information silos or organizational silos, symbolizing assimilation and isolation. These business silos function as a repository of information or power—hoarded and not shared, either by plan or by practice.
With silos, there’s an inner circle, with everyone else kept at a safe distance.
Most organizations, including churches, have silos. Many churches also have theological silos. A theological silo, usually the product of a homogenous faith community, holds to a certain set of beliefs as sacred and non-negotiable.
These may include explicit baptism beliefs, how someone becomes a Christian, a certain understanding of the end times, the role of the Holy Spirit today, a particular stance on a societal issue, and even which version of the Bible to use.
(One historical silo occurred over the requirement for men to wear neckties to church.)
Those who agree with the beliefs of the silo are invited in (usually only after they prove themselves worthy), whereas all others are kept at a distance or even shunned.
Historically, denominations formed around theological silos and then later became silos themselves, often exclusive, closed-minded, and dogmatic to a fault.
Jesus desired unity; he prayed we would be as one. Let’s tear down our silos and embrace one another—especially those who are different—just like Jesus did.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.