I love Ed Stetzer's line that "If the 1950s came back, many churches are ready." I don't know what happens when you read the line, but here's what runs through my mind*:
- Sunday morning services featuring stanzas 1, 2 and 4 from two hymns from the 16th, 17th or 18th century (Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, and John Newton) and one from either the 19th century (Fanny Crosby) or a southern gospel chorus (think How Great Thou Art or He Touched Me). Ultra progressive churches would later substitute a praise chorus from the Gaither Vocal Band.
- King James Version (even though the last native users of the King James english had been dead for over 200 years).
- Come forward invitations (The busses will wait. If you came with a friend...they'll wait).
- Sunday school for all ages.
- Dinner on the grounds.
- Sunday night services (unique content, sometimes tailored to the most faithful)
- Sunday night programming (discipleship training, youth choir, etc.).
- Monday night visitation (who doesn't like two strangers showing up at dinner time)
- Wednesday night prayer meeting.
- Wednesday night programming (Royal Ambassadors, Girls Auxiliary, choir practice, etc.).
Here's the question of the day:
How close does your church's current ministry model fit this paradigm?
Listen...if you've simply substituted menu items (i.e., Awana for Royal Ambassadors and Girls Auxiliary, on-campus discipleship groups for prayer meeting, and the New King James Version for the original)...you fit the mold Ed Stetzer has written about. It may very well be that you have a myopic understanding of the culture. As a result, you probably have a bloated belong and become menu that is keeping you from effectively reaching your community.
Here's reality. If this is your current ministry model, you're counting on a flux capacitor.
Need to change?
I realize that what I've identified here is laughable to churches that have already joined the 21st century and terrifying to those that haven't. Still...I'm hoping that if you need to change and want to change, you'll take these critical steps. Please don't hear judgement. Hear encouragement!
Three Steps to Take When the Flux Capacitor #FAILS
- A thorough diagnosis of your present. See also, Diagnosis: Brutal Honesty about Your Present.
- A thoughtful declaration of your preferred future. See also, Start with the End in Mind.
- A series of determined steps in the right direction. See also, Milestones that Lead to the Preferred Future.
*I was born in 1956...so I'm really describing Southern Baptist churches of the 1960s.
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