In defense of small churches

Most churches throughout history and throughout the world have been small.  Today more than one billion Christians worship in small congregations.  Christianity Today author Karl Vaters has written a series of five blog posts on the subject “The Astonishing Power of Small Churches,” urging that contemporary Christians move away from the megachurch ideal and realize the unique value of small congregations.

Get started reading the first post after the jump, then follow the link for the other four.

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How megachurches are doing

Megachurches continue to attract big numbers, but, according to a new study, people aren’t attending as often; the churches are keeping baby boomers but losing Gen-Xers and Millennials;  and they are emulating smaller congregations by having smaller sanctuaries with more services and having multiple sites. [Read more…]

Traditional style, progressive substance

We blogged about Rachel Held Evans, her point that Millennials can’t stand the church growth efforts to reach them and how the Sacraments are what make the church relevant.  David French observes that what she is really calling for are churches that are “traditionally progressive,” keeping the old forms while changing orthodox teachings on theology and morality so that they conform to to the canons of progressivism. [Read more…]

How a contemporary sees contemporary worship

Robert Burns prayed for the power “To see ourselves as others see us!” (To a  Louse). So I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings here.  But it is surely helpful for a church trying to be contemporary to see how actual contemporaries are responding to their efforts.

Matt Walsh, a young guy of the sort that churches are trying to reach, speculates that the reason Christianity is allegedly in decline, according to that Pew study, is that it has become so boring.  But, in his telling, the boredom comes from the proliferation of contemporary worship, which, he says, in the course of making fun of it, drains Christianity of its transcendence, substance, and seriousness. [Read more…]

“The sacraments are what make the church relevant”

Yesterday we blogged about Rachel Held Evan’s contention that church growth techniques designed to reach Millennials–contemporary worship, attempts to make church relevant, efforts to make Christianity seem cool–do not, in fact, work.  Her suggestion instead:   “Keep worship weird.”  That is, recover the sacraments.  “The sacraments,” she says, “are what make the church relevant.” [Read more…]

Church growth tactics don’t work with Millennials

Rachel Held Evans was something of an evangelical renegade who left the church for awhile, only to come back recently as an Episcopalian.  In an op-ed piece, she explains that the church growth tactics that churches try to use to reach her Millennial generation just don’t work.  “Young people don’t simply want a better show,” she says.  “And trying to be cool might be making things worse.”

After the jump, a link and an excerpt to her piece, giving data to back up her claim.  But tomorrow we’ll post about what she says WILL make Christianity relevant to her generation. [Read more…]