Something sadly fascinating is happening to The Traditional Church.
The ‘Old Church’ is declining fast. Membership is plummeting as many of their members stray to other interests on a Sunday.
Many, disillusioned with the decline in biblical moral standards, unhappy that the drive towards inclusivity has resulted in the denial, implicit or explicit, of much traditional Church teaching, are losing Faith, losing Hope, and just giving up on so much of the traditional mainstream Church.
The smaller Churches, often non-denominational, are burgeoning simply because they offer Hope, they offer genuine Faith rather than just lip service to a much watered-down original, and they offer true biblical values and standards to which members are strongly encouraged to adhere!
Yet even these are struggling to retain members. Many reasons, but high on the list, is the air of legalism or religiosity that has lingered as a hangover from Traditional Churches.
People didn’t know or understand what went on inside a Church; they didn’t like the formality, and much of the old cliquiness remained — again, which people didn’t like.
So now there is evolving an even newer alternative in the para-Church movement. A far more relaxed and informal way of doing Church, this new movement doesn’t meet in traditional Church Buildings.
It meets in community centers, in hotels, or pub function rooms, in places so unlike a Church as to be unrecognizable.
It meets in homes too — sometimes as a formally organized House Church, but sometimes as the best available place until size of meetings dictate a larger public venue.
And much of the success is down to providing a relaxed atmosphere with soft drinks and cakes before and after the meetings.
Worship is frequently one or two people with guitars or piano, performed with passion and feeling, which can envelop everyone present.
Prayers are extemporaneous and ministry time can involve everyone, not just two or three prayed for by three or four on the prayer team.
In larger gatherings, often 100 or more people, great care is taken to ensure that decency and propriety are maintained at all times — but the sick are healed, the deaf hear, miracles are public for all to witness, testimonies are encouraged, and everyone present is made to feel part, an important part, of proceedings.
Featured Image by Arthur Poulin on Unsplash
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