Do church growth tactics attract the unchurched?

The best argument for adopting the techniques of the Church Growth movement–contemporary worship, non-traditional styles, and culturally-relevant practices–is to reach the lost, the unbelievers, the unchurched.  Such “missional” concerns often trump all other considerations.  It’s hard to argue against the importance of evangelism and the Great Commission.

But the question remains, do the Church Growth techniques that have given us so many megachurches, in fact, attract non-Christians and others who do not normally go to church?

I stumbled across a study of those who attend megachurches–one that is actually pro-megachurch in many ways–that found that only 2% do not describe themselves as “committed followers of Jesus Christ,” and only 6% do not come from other congregations. [Read more...]

“Missional” churches vs. the church’s mission

One of my former pastors, Rev. Lucas Woodford, has published a book entitled Great Commission, Great Confusion, or Great Confession?: The Mission of the Holy Christian Church.

It tells the tale of his attempt to be “missional,” buying into all of the church growth principles and techniques, until he discovered what the mission of the church really is.   Amazon reviews after the jump. [Read more...]

Mega-Ashrams & Tele-Gurus

An article about the arrest in India of the guru Asaram Bapu–worshipped as the “godman”–for sexually assaulting a 16 year old girl includes some background information which suggests that what has happened in America with Christianity is happening in India with Hinduism. [Read more...]

Baptists embracing the liturgy

A growing number of Baptists are turning to liturgical worship.  So says the Associated Baptist Press and a new book on the subject.  Why?  Because liturgy is inherently “missional.”  And because it attracts young people.

Now that the church growth movement has come completely full circle, could we Lutherans take up a collection to send a copy of this book, entitled Gathering Together:  Baptists at Work in Worship, to every pastor and district executive involved with throwing out the liturgy in the name of being “missional” and attracting young people?  Maybe they will appreciate liturgical worship now that Baptists are doing it. [Read more...]

And now, the worship DJ

Trying to be “contemporary,” as in contemporary worship, requires hitting a moving target, since, by definition, what is up to the minute changes every minute.  This is especially true when it comes to pop culture, which depends for its commercial success on spinning out fashions that rapidly go in and out of style.  And what is “out” becomes looked down upon even more than it was considered cool a few months ago.  (In contrast, what is “classic” never goes out of style.)

So what are churches that want to feature contemporary music supposed to do? Michelle Boorstein of The Washington Post writes about a congregation that has gotten rid of its praise band and brought in a DJ.  Read about it after the jump, but here is the killer quote:

And to people younger than 30, the drums and electric guitars of the contemporary rock that dominates much of American Christianity are not only not edgy, “but for them, it’s like singing hymns,” [DJ Hans] Daniels said. “Why does the music you worship to and jam out to have to be completely separate?”

How would you answer that question?

And let’s test the premise:  Those of you who go to dance clubs, do you really want that same kind of music in church?  Wouldn’t you find that embarrassing? [Read more...]

How church growth strategies keep missing the point

Rachel Held Evans tells about how churches that want to reach young people keep missing the point, trying to be cooler and hipper and more contemporary instead of attending to the far greater issues of substance.  Yes, she is calling for a measure of liberalism, but notice what else she is calling for.  Read what she says after the jump and then consider my comments. [Read more...]


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