Sunday, April 6, 2008

Contemporary Church Buildings

Another interesting post from the Said at Southern Blog. It seems that Lifeway has come out with research which finds that the unchurched actually prefer traditional church buildings.

The reason I find this interesting is because so many contemporary churches are trying to find whatever cool, relevant, inovative method they can to make church more interesting in order to reach their unchurched neighbors.

Sometimes new church plants will build a church that is "nonthreatening" and doesn't even look like a church. Again, many church plants choose to meet in homes instead of buildings because they feel that people are turned off by traditional church and would feel more comfortable meeting in a home than in a church.

The problem I see with this trend is that too many churches are putting their hope in style, environment, and relativeness instead of the gospel.

The Holy Spirit is what draws unbelievers to the Father and the only method He uses as described in Scripture is the preaching of the gospel. Personally, I don't care where a church meets, or what the building looks like if a given church is preaching the gospel faithfully, and according to Scripture.

Unfortunately, it seems that in large part the "cooler," and more relevant a church tries to be, the less it trusts fully in the preaching of the gospel to convert unbelievers.

I am exceedingly thankful that my church, Third Avenue Baptist Church, trusts that the Holy Spirit is who enlightens unbelievers through the preaching of the gospel and therefore, the gospel and faithful, Biblical, preaching are what characterizes us.

On the other hand, the church I am a member of isn't perfect, and if we want to reach our neighborhood, we are going to have to be more faithful to actually be a presence in the community in order to preach the gospel that we are so faithfully trusting in. What good is a lamp that is under a basket? Fortunately, I believe that by the grace of God, we are moving in the right direction.


Unhinged Pastor - Lee Hoy said...

Man, to say that churches that seek to be relevant don't rely on the gospel as much is a PRETTY big leap. Unless you have visited quite a few. Furthermore, not sure you really read the research. I have and the question they asked DOESN'T say what you said. Read HOW they asked the question. Before pastoring I was a transportation planner and did many surveys.

The unchurched weren't surveyed AFTER they actually picked a church. To say what you prefer and to find out what people actually do is not the same. People are posting all over blogs with incorrect conclusions from the research.

Again, make sure you understand the question asked and what is being answered. That may or may not correlate with actual practice. Don't believe me? Ask many pastors who are interviewed by traditional churches and are led to believe the church is actually interested in outreach only to be fired later when the pastor actually does what is necessary for outreach.

The stated and the actual are often worlds apart.

Anonymous said...

Hi Riley! This is Kimberly from Tampa.Do you rememebr me?

Ben Bartlett said...

Hey Riley,

Always enjoy your posts. Just wanted to know that I tagged you for a, "meme," whatever that is, over on my blog (the post is entitled, "What does the Weird Northernor Read?). Enjoy answering the questions!

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