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Why Church doesn't fit

Posted by onyx 
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Why Church doesn't fit
August 30, 2012 09:32PM
Found this article online today:

Most people don't go to church anymore. And the minority who do regularly attend and appreciate weekly services fit a certain profile. They're the church-inclined.

This shrinking minority differs from the majority in several ways:

Audience-Oriented. They appreciate a good presentation from the stage. They prefer to passively listen while the paid professionals on the stage do the work. Similar to theater-goers, they may judge the "performance" based on how well they are entertained or engaged.

Anonymous. They often seek anonymity. They like being part of a faceless crowd. They don't necessarily want to be noticed—or known. They appreciate churches that keep the spotlight on the performers on stage, that allow the audience to sit quietly in the dark, so to speak.

Authority-Centered. They rely heavily on authority figures for information and inspiration. So, in the contemporary church, they count on the paid professionals to communicate the insights, move them, pray on their behalf, and do the real ministry.

Academic. They see the church's role as primarily academic. They come once a week to obtain information about the Bible or God or life. They expect to hear an authority teach theological principles and historical data.

Auditory. They're often auditory learners—people who take in and remember primarily through their ears. The contemporary church service suits them because it's predominately an auditory experience.

For the shrinking minority, this type of church experience satisfies them. They're content with the status quo.

But what about the growing majority of people who don't regularly attend church services? Why don't these same factors work for them? It seems that what attracts the church-inclined may actually repel or at least disinterest the majority. Let's look at each factor again from their perspective.

Audience-Oriented. Though most people enjoy a good show, they don't view their spirituality as a spectator activity. Even though they may long for God, they say they don't see the need to sit in an auditorium and watch professional religious people perform rehearsed presentations.

Anonymous. Though most people seek occasional anonymity, when it comes to matters of the heart, they actually crave relationship. They want to be known. They want to contribute to the conversation. Telling their story is as important as listening to someone else's.

Authority-Centered. Most people today have moved into the new era of information distribution, which is accentuated by the internet. Increasingly, people no longer have to wait for authorities to deliver needed information. They're comfortable accessing and processing it themselves.

Academic. We live in an information-soaked world. When it comes to spiritual things, most people don't sense they're lacking hard data. They're lacking the soft stuff of the soul. Their desired relationship with God seems more at home at Starbucks than in a lecture hall. Like any relationship, they sense growth in a relationship with God comes more from give-and-take than passive consumption of someone's lecture.

Auditory. Research shows that 30 percent or less of the population is made up of auditory learners. Most of the population processes information and thoughts primarily in other ways. They tend to tune out when asked to endure a presentation that implies they should sit still and listen.

Don't misunderstand. These people aren't disinterested in God or spiritual things. They simply don't find the church's format a good fit for them. The typical Sunday morning service of half lecture and half sing-along simply isn't a useful way for them to connect to God.

And it doesn't matter how carefully the preacher prepares or delivers the sermon, or how polished the musicians perform. That formula just doesn't work for most people anymore.

If today's church wishes to reach beyond the shrinking church-inclined attendees, it will need to consider new and different ways to engage people.

I'm not suggesting the church erase what it's doing for the current audience. Keep serving the church-inclined. I'm simply suggesting it's time to add some additional new and different experiences. At different times. In different environments. To grow the church. To be the church.

Thom Schultz - holysoup.com

So what do you think?

Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.
- Lenny Bruce
Re: Why Church doesn't fit
August 31, 2012 12:58AM
When I was studying for my my youth work degree we spent an hours lesson discussing the fact that a tree was not a tree just something we had agreed should be called a tree. I think christs meaning for church and what anyone defines church is as different as a tree and a sandwich
Re: Why Church doesn't fit
September 05, 2012 09:09PM
You are making me hungry, J! I'm off to eat a tree...

Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.
- Lenny Bruce
Re: Why Church doesn't fit
October 12, 2012 08:45PM
"New Testament Definition of the Church

The word "church" as rendered in the New Testament comes from the Greek term ekklesia which is formed from two Greek words meaning "an assembly" and "to call out" or "called out ones." In summary, the New Testament church is a body of believers who have been called out from the world by God to live as his people under the authority of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23). This group of believers or "the body of Christ" began in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost through the work of the Holy Spirit and will continue to be formed until the day of the rapture of the "church."

Therfore if you have ben called out under the 'Authority' of Christ ... then you are part of 'Church' - now this is not rocket science eh winking smiley

Therefore... "Hello Church its great to be with you."
Re: Why Church doesn't fit
October 12, 2012 09:02PM
Heres another thought ...

The founder of the "home church" movement in England, Canon Ernest Southcott, said it best:

"The holiest moment of the church service is the moment when God’s people—strengthened by preaching and sacrament—go out of the church door into the world to be the church. We don’t go to church; we are the church."

The church, therefore, is not a place. It's not the building, it's not the location, and it's not the denomination. We—God's people who are in Christ Jesus—are the church.
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