caution re changing a church

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by nodak, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. nodak

    nodak
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    I don't want to hijack the other thread concerning church growth.

    And this question may not fit that OP's church, anyway.

    Several times I have personally witnessed this scene:

    A church of around 100-150, with excellent preaching, excellent Bible study, good mix of ages, but cast in a traditional mold as to both music and programs. Plenty of non traditional program churches available for those wanting that, and plenty of contemporary music churches available for those wanting that.

    Someone new--not necessarily a new pastor but often--comes and decides "we aren't reaching the 20 somethings and we need to change to what they want."

    Two points and some questions.

    Point one: often that is not true. 20somethings may be sitting in a pew when this is said.

    Point two: lots of surveys out there showing that many 20somethings are looking for that traditional church.

    So my question: Are those traditional 20somethings and that 100-150 people already worshipping at that church totally unimportant and irrelevant? At what age are we no longer useful, or are our worship needs of no importance?

    The mantra of the 80's and 90's when the worship wars were heating up was that we needed to allow diversity in worship styles. Now that the majority of worship services are contemporary, do we no longer need diversity of styles?

    This applies also to programs. I know young folks actively seeking a church where they can still have SS, the church, then Discipleship Training that evening, then worship. They are looking for the Wednesday night prayer meeting (not more preaching or Bible study or kids activities).

    I'm the first to admit that maybe there really are fewer looking for that traditional church. But if they find that church and they and the people there are blessed by that type of church, why change it? Why not let them reach the folks they can reach and the other style churches reach the folks they can reach?

    I'm usually given the argument that "there are some not reached by that traditional church." I agree. But obviously if it exists there are some that are reached by it.

    Why not diversity of programs and styles anymore?
     
  2. freeatlast

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    I find it extremely disturbing that the church today thinks it needs to become like the world to win the world while all the time people who are looking for truth want a change from what they are having.
    The idea that pizza parties, games and certain kinds of music wins people is outrageous. What happens is that these people just push Christ into their style of life instead of being changed to His. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. If a church is doing its job in the lives of the believers it has (training them unto holiness, maturing them) and those lives are showing that then the Lord Himself will send every kind of person from every walk of life. You can bet if the world sees God actually working in the lives of the church then they will beat he door down. The problem is the church is failing its own people and in doing so God withholds and the leaders turn to programs and many times godless tactics to add to their numbers. Not converts, just numbers.
     
  3. Old Union Brother

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    I too find it disturbing that many feel the church has to change to fit the world. The only thing that I wanted to change about the church was me being in it. All to often a church changes to fit "modern society" and then ends up looking like the world its self. An old father in the Gospel once told me "If it looks like the world, acts like the world and walks like the world its the world."
     
  4. InTheLight

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    How is having pizza parties and games being "a part of the world"?

    If this is "being a part of the world" so is having a telephone, an automobile, a wallet, and (fill in the blank.)
     
  5. InTheLight

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    If a traditional style church changes to a non-trad church it must be because the majority of members want it, or at least allowed it to happen. I left a church that recently switched from having a choir to no choir, from a mix of traditional hymns and occasional modern praise music to exclusively contemporary music and from having Baptist in their name to dropping it.

    If you want to retain a traditional worship style let your voice be heard and if they switch and you can no longer worship there, then you must leave. There are traditional style churches out there, though they are getting rarer.
     
  6. glfredrick

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    "Traditional" church is just church from one era, transplanted (or sustained through a lot of effort) into another.

    What exactly IS "traditional" church in the big scheme of things? Not that I don't know exactly how to define that term -- I do -- but WHY is THAT way of doing church the only way that is right?

    I got into a big debate with the deacons and actual leaders of one church I pastored (the actual leaders were the women who wrote the checks, etc.) about why they could not or would not change. They told me point blank that they did not care at all for all that "newfangled" rock and roll church that was, wait, wait, here it is, "Just like the world."

    I opened their thread-bare hymnal and started paging through. I asked them when they thought that their favorite hymns were written. No one really knew, and just assumed that their favorites were "REALLY" old. They were wrong! The ones they liked the best stemmed from the big revival period of Billy Sunday and Billy Graham, stemming forward from 1925 to the 1950s. Rarely did they really prefer a hymn from the late 1800s, and there were only a couple in the hymnal older than that. In other words, those hymns were BRAND NEW when their parents were in church. One generation away from what was a brand new thing...

    Can we truly write no new hymns today that are just as good? Can we not embrace technology, when our God has so graciously given us the power to reach countless thousands more people each because of the reach we have with the technology that He has granted? Can we really not change clothing styles? Really?

    I always laugh when I hear preachers preaching about "the world." They are almost always dressed up in a suit just like the ones the bankers and real estate brokers wear. Talk about "the world." They are using language just like educators. They drive the same cars that the people with money in town drive. And, they complain about people that look, act, speak, dress, and pray like Jesus. Way to go! :thumbs:
     
  7. preachinjesus

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    I, for one, would be interested in a list of practices or methods that make our church "more like the world."

    With such an ambiguous label attached to a lot of what some good intentioned churches are doing this is a necessary qualifier. :)
     
  8. InTheLight

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    Psalm 33:3 Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.

    I think songwriters can write new songs, even new hymns without electric instruments but the traditional church probably doesn't want to pay the royalties in order to use them.
     
  9. freeatlast

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    trying to suck the world into a place where they are a captive audience is of the world. Like I said if the church is truly a godly church people will beat down the doors as God sends them in.
     
    #9 freeatlast, Mar 8, 2011
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  10. InTheLight

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    Let me rephrase:

    Why is having pizza parties and games being "a part of the world"?
     
  11. Alive in Christ

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    Could be that there are lots of pastors who refuse to grasp the truth known sometimes as the "universal church"...meaning that "the church" is more than just the one local church that he pastors, but rather all of the collective churches world wide.

    He feels that they have to get everybody, because after all, we are the church.

    With all due respect, no...you arent "the church".

    You are one church. One local church among multitudes world wide.

    Rather than simply minister to tho ones God brings in, he feels that it is up to him, and his one church, to (((get everybody!!)))

    Just a thought.
     
  12. Joshua2415

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    20s and such

    I'm 26, and my wife is 24. We live in an area that's mostly Catholic and Lutheran, and good Baptist churches are hard to come by. I tried a couple of non-denominational churches, and their services were more like rock concerts, and some were so big I felt lost in the crowd. Most of the churches around here are contemporary. Unlike most 20-somethings, I desire a traditional worship service, because that's what I was raised as, and I love the old hymns. Now, I have my own issues with contemporary music as a matter of taste, but there's nothing wrong with worshiping that way if God is using it to reach people and be worshiped (as opposed to being an entertainment venue).

    I feel like I can't find a traditional worship service. A few other denominations have a split service, one contemporary and one traditional, which I suppose works, but I've always thought that splitting the church body isn't necessarily a good thing (again, opinion). The church I attend now has a mix of contemporary and traditional, which is fairly nice, and it's Baptist finally. They only sing one or two hymns a service though.

    I've seen things in our association like what was described--going so contemporary no one ever knows the songs, dropping Baptist from the name, the preaching becomes watered down, etc. Is this to attract young people? As a young person, I find it intellectually and spiritually degrading. There's no message, the worship isn't serious, there's never any reverence for God, and I leave feeling empty, like what did I just go to? It's obviously not just Baptists doing this.

    I want a church that reveres God, that knows that the Lord's Supper is solemn, that respects the old hymns but has room for contemporary music now and then, and preaches the true Word of God. Why is it so hard to find?
     
  13. Ed B

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    For those who haven't seen it, there are a couple of pretty good articles on related subjects in this month's Christianity Today magazine - at least the hard copy.

    Just weighing in, I prefer a somewhat more traditional music style for Church worship. I don't think contemporary music and praise hymns are wrong, but I find many (not all) either very hard for ME to sing - rhythm or cadence is much less predictable - or I find many of them annoyingly shallow. bUt I admit, that to some extent this is a matter of taste. Others are clearly blessed by the contemperary music.

    And please, no more “clap offerings” unless we are going to do it in a way that is fitting to our Creator, Savior and King – standing ovation for a VERY LONG TIME. If any human performer receives an enthusiastic standing ovation from us – regardless of venue or event – how much more does our Lord deserve if we are going to pretent to praise him in the same fashion that we praise human celebrities?

    A "clap offering" to our Lord? It should be deafening and it should last for days.
     
    #13 Ed B, Mar 8, 2011
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  14. Tom Butler

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    Folks, let me tell you about Joshua. I have known him since the day he was born. He sang in my choir, is a diligent student of the word of God. We come from the western part of Kentucky, right in the heart of the Bible Belt, where there's a Baptist church of some kind or another every where you look. The church he grew up in is pretty traditional in its worship. For better or worse, I'm responsible. I was minister of music for 29 years, then after an 8-year break, have been choir director for the last ten.

    It's hard for me to imagine not living in an area where if you don't find a suitable Baptist church on Sunday, you can choose from three dozen others. On the other hand, my wife Janice understands. She's a preacher's kid, whose father pastored churches out west. Every church he pastored (Utah, Arizona, Idaho and New Mexico) was the only Baptist church in town. In more than one church, Janice found herself in a Sunday School class of one.

    Now, the rest of this post is for Josh and Laura. Janice and I are going to pray for you both. I know your mom and dad already do. We are going to share your situation with your home church in Paducah, Kentucky, and we are going to hold you up in prayer. We are going to pray that God will lead you to the church he has for you.

    Not only will my church do this, but I now ask all my friends here on the Baptist Board to covenant with me to pray for you in this matter.

    And I don't know why this is on my mind as I write, but it just may be that the church God leads you to is one you and Laura start yourself. I'm going to leave it there for the moment. More than anything, we desire that God's will be done in this, and that He be glorified in all of it.
     
    #14 Tom Butler, Mar 8, 2011
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  15. rbell

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    And that's exactly what we do. We have contemporary and traditional services. And guess what? Both are growing.

    I do want to draw one distinction...you mentioned in your post:

    I understand the desire for certain programs and styles. But we must be careful to not be so prescriptive so as to become enslaved to a certain "way" of doing church. This is the prison we see many hyper-traditional IFB churches fall into--those that go beyond offering what you've described...and instead, look down their noses at churches that don't do it that way...or make the attendance of such events an exercise in legalism.

    Please understand, I know you well enough from on here to know that isn't you. I'm just saying that we have to be careful of getting too close to that line; some might have trouble discerning the proper balance.

    Anyhow, back to my original point: It's exciting to see God honored in so many different settings in our church...and what's really neat, is how harmonious the whole process is.
     
  16. Joshua2415

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    Hi Tom,

    Good to hear from you. I don't know why God asked you or anyone else to pray for me, but I'm glad He did. I've been having a hard time with my faith lately, and some of it is to do with finding a stable church. I need all the prayer I can get, but I am very grateful to find that you felt my need 500 miles away. Heck, what's 500 miles to God? The very One who created a universe 13.7 billion light years wide?

    Starting a church? That has never even crossed my mind, nor have I ever felt God asking me to do that--doesn't mean it couldn't happen. I do know a couple of people in the Southern Wisconsin Baptist Convention that are deeply involved with church planting. It's an interesting thought, and I know God can do anything--but something like that would be beyond the greatest faith I have ever mustered, especially in my situation...

    Anyway, it's good to hear from you Tom, and I'm again grateful to know that our home church still remembers us in prayer. I do have a Southern Baptist Church that I've been attending off and on in the beginning of this year, and I am going to make a point to attend it regularly, as it seems like a good place of worship. I think, God willing, that it will be the best place in this chapter of my life.

    :godisgood:
     
  17. glfredrick

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    Why without electric instuments? Is there something evil that happens when an instrument is plugged into a wall? Or, does God not understand electricity?

    Also, can we not write new songs within our churches? Does everything have to copy what someone else has done?
     
  18. glfredrick

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    Curious, which Madison Baptist church did you find? I'm familiar with some of them.

    Another thought -- most of the large churches are also "small" churches in that they require (or provide) the opportunity for their flock to meet in smaller venues between the worship gathered on Sundays. A mere visit probably would not demonstrate that small within large church setting.

    Edit: After reading more in this thread, I would assume that you know Mark Millman and company...
     
    #18 glfredrick, Mar 9, 2011
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  19. Earth Wind and Fire

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    May I ask your age?
     
  20. freeatlast

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    I am not interested in a marriage proposal. :laugh:
     

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