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On Imitating the 20th Century Church

30 November 2009

 

We’re still thinkin’ like a 200-member church.” – Ken Moss, one of my elders, guarding the much needed shift in thinking when your church family grows numerically over 200

We’re still thinkin’ like a 20th-century church.” – Yours Truly, guarding the much needed shift in thinking when your culture won’t respond like they once did to your church family’s mode of “doing church”

 

Generally speaking, if you were to study 20th-century Christianity, with an eye to imitate it now in the 21st-century, you would…

…put your primary attention and focus on your Sunday meeting.

…find or build a place adequate to have your Sunday meeting.

…recruit or hire the best public speaker you can find, attract, or afford to preach at your Sunday meeting.

…recruit or hire the best worship leader you can find, attract, or afford to lead singing and/or music at your Sunday meeting.

…collect money from the people who attend your Sunday meeting.

…support and surround your Sunday meeting with good programs for kids to attract families with kids to your meetings.

…spend tons of leadership man-hours deciding what is best, appropriate, most-effective and Biblical to do at and through your Sunday meetings.

…mobilize the people at your Sunday meetings to share the saving message of Christ with people who don’t come to your Sunday meetings, and when they accept that message, get them to faithfully you at your Sunday meetings.

…measure success by how many attend your Sunday meeting.

Generally speaking, if you want to imitate the 20th-century church, the above list will pretty much get you on your way.

Any questions? Thoughts?

I need to tell you that I’m speaking (1) as a primary participant in one of these 20th-century modeled churches, and (2) as a human being who is noticing that other human beings do not respond to this mode of church like they used to, and (3) most importantly and urgently, as a dad who is questioning whether this 20th-century model is going to effectively deliver Christ’s way of life to my kids and their friends in this very different, constantly changing 21st-century.

Any questions? Thoughts? Guidance? Compassion?

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3 Comments to “On Imitating the 20th Century Church”

  1. I, like you, love the heritage in which I grew up. I, like you, love the foundation that heritage gave me. I, like you, wonder if that heritage is now providing for me, my family, my friends, my city, my world what they need to know Christ. I, like you, wonder if our way of "doing church" looks anything like the 1st centry followers or if we are too focused on "imitating the 20th Century Church" and holding on to that heritage.

  2. So where do we go from here?

    Do we work for reform, abandon the current group with its 20th century mindset, or do we head off in another direction?

    Being stuck is very frustrating.

  3. Isn't the real problem that we are all basically "rich young rulers"? We walk away from our call in Christ downcast because we are unwilling to give up what we have in order to pursue what is best.

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