7 Surprising Things Churches Have Done to Attract New Members

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It seems like there’s always another local church in the news for pulling some outlandish stunt or another. And sometimes its hard to tell what their intention was, and other times its pretty clear that they were looking to get in the news.

One way we can begin interpreting these surprising actions by a local church is to examine their beliefs and determine whether they would be considered “orthodox”. Orthodoxy can be defined as the “right belief” about God and is typically characterized by the ancient creeds of the church.  To compliment their orthodox belief, we can then consider the “orthopraxis”, or the “right practice”, of the church.

Typically the orthopraxis of the local church is expressed in much broader terms than orthodoxy, and of the two is what flexes as local churches contextualize their practices to reach new members.

We have found 7 examples of surprising things that churches have done to attract to new members through their contextualization of orthopraxis:

  1. Church/Nightclub – A Mosaic Church in Tennessee has created a venue space that is rented out to anyone regardless of church affiliation or age. People are receiving Jesus in the midst of concerts and drinks.
  2. Church in a Bar – Holding a church service in a bar has gained popularity because of the causal and familiar atmosphere. One church in a bar even passes out branded cozies and gift cards to offset the first-time visitor’s tab.
  3. Church in a Mall A church plant in Ohio rented out a retail space between a JCPenny’s and a Sears. Sunday morning walkers now walk to the beat of contemporary worship.
  4. Online Sunday Services – More and more churches are broadcasting their Sunday services online. Just posting a copy of your service’s audio isn’t enough these days.
  5. iPhone Confession – The Roman Catholic Church is experimenting with an iPhone app to help Catholics reintroduce themselves to the sacrament of reconciliation.
  6. Techno Mass A church in Stockholm, Sweden is having tremendous success with their techno mass. Is this the evolution of contemporary worship?
  7. Contemporary service – The classic contextualization of worship during the 20th century. Is contemporary still contemporary if it sounds like its from the 90’s?!
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David Lyell is associate pastor at Westwood United Methodist Church and Photographer at Stephanie Lyell Photography.

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