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Published On: Fri, Nov 21st, 2014

Relevant Churches Reach People for Christ

In the nineteen thirties even national radio programs encouraged people to go to their “houses of worship” on Sundays. People like J. Edgar Hoover did spot announcements saying that a nation that would not pray would not survive. Today, it’s tough to get most Americans to set foot in a church. How can we turn that around?

First, we need to admit the truth: although forty percent of Americans claim to attend church on Sundays, barely twenty percent actually goes. Between four and seven thousand churches close every year. The church has to change if it is to go on.

Interior of The Moody Church

Interior of The Moody Church

Successful churches attract young people. A glance at most church services will tell you that the congregations are mostly composed of older adults. If the church expects not to die out, it must attract the youth. It has to show them that faith and worship are relevant to life today. That doesn’t necessarily mean emphasizing contemporary services and throwing out the hymnals. It does mean that the church has to “get real” and move beyond its doors to where life happens. Churches have to meet people where they work and where they relax. We have to become less afraid of the lifestyles and choices people make today, even if we don’t promote them.

Growing churches adopt technology. That is one of today’s common languages. Pastors who are not afraid to use social media and IT to reach out to the masses will find that the masses will reach out to the church.

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglican Church [1], Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus' description of himself "I am the Good Shepherd"  Stained glass: Alfred Handel, d. 1946  photo:Toby Hudson via wikimedia commons

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” Stained glass: Alfred Handel, d. 1946 photo:Toby Hudson via wikimedia commons

Successful churches are where people want to be. Churches must “compete” with a culture in which there are so many choices of things to do. We don’t have to serve worship at drive through churches, or organize beach services. What we have to do is make church such a relevant part of the lives of the people that they want to come. There must be groups that address the needs of single mothers and empty nesters, that support addicts fighting to stay clean, and that offer safe recreational opportunities to youth, among other issues. Successful churches meet needs.
Churches that are alive embrace diversity. The nation is becoming more and more a true melting pot. Churches that minister choose to incorporate that diversity in worship. People will go where they feel welcome. The congregations of successful churches have learned to be comfortable with different races and ethnic groups, different music and different styles of worship.

Churches like the Fellowship Church, pastored by Ed Young, feature activities throughout the week, not just on the weekends. They utilize social media and the Internet to bring people confined to their homes into the sanctuary. They run service programs and offer people the chance to volunteer. A look at their website shows that they even reach out to artists to help them become more productive and show them how to incorporate their art into worship.

Yes, the Fellowship Church is a large organization. They have several satellite “campuses” and even a presence in another country. The principles they use to keep the church vital, though, can be adapted by a church of any size. Change does not have to mean compromising beliefs, but for the church to be the church it has to reach people where they live.

Guest Author: Lolita Di

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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  1. Church Shouldn’t Mirror the Nightclub | Revolutionary Paideia says:

    […] Relevant Churches Reach People for Christ […]

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