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...]

How pastors and other leaders deal with inner chaos

There are lots of books about leadership, particularly leadership in churches.  The book that won the Award of Merit (2nd place) in the category of Christianity & Culture in the Christianity Today Book Awards, goes much deeper than most.   Mark Sayers, in Facing Leviathan: Leadership, Influence, and Creating in a Cultural Storm, shows how leaders–that is to say, pastors–are often caught up in battling their own inner chaos.

In his discussion, he also shows why so many leaders (pastors) adopt an anti-establishment, neo-bohemian mindset in insisting on changing the institution they are trying to lead.   But the book is not a critique, as such, but a very personal treatment of its author’s own experience as a pastor, one that will be of great help to other pastors and leaders, burnt-out or otherwise, trying to do their best for the people following them.

After the jump, see the mini-review I wrote about the book as one of the Christianity Today judges. [Read more...]

Church design that appeal to Millennials

The Christian pollsters and research company the Barna Group has researched what kind of church architecture and design elements appeal most to the Millennial generation, the 18-29 year-olds that churches are trying hard to reach.

Briefly, the Millennisals much prefer traditional church design, as well as quiet, contemplative spaces, to the auditorium-style sanctuaries with screens and speaker systems that have become popular in the Church Growth Movement.

After the jump, read about the study and see some samples of the findings. [Read more...]