Transforming churches to meet current needs
Why are so many churches closed or closing? I certainly have not visited every church in the county but I have eyes, and I can see few cars parked in a church parking lot on Sunday. Why?
The message of the Bible is the same, but the way it is presented and accepted has changed. My wife grew up here, but I was born and lived in Florida as an adult and was raised in Queens, NY, so my church experience has been much more positive than that of Sullivan County. The local churches need to change to be able to serve and sustain a congregation of various cultures, backgrounds, age groups and ethnic groups.
I heard Pastor Mike McKelvey of Family Church put it this way, “A person must first belong, then believe, then behave.” Ask yourself this question about your local church: will a person of color or gay person be welcomed and accepted as he or she? What about a teen who will not sit still? Does your church even have a youth group that teaches the Bible at an age-appropriate level? Well it is 2018, and Happy New Year; change is coming. Either the local churches will change to meet the needs of the various people groups of the community or God will raise up another, possibly a megachurch that will.
Here are some changes that will positively transform your church:
1. Meet and greet all people who enter church and make them feel like they belong.
2. Get rid of the old broken piano/organ. The praise and worship music must be upbeat and uplifting and performed by talented Christian musicians/singers.
3. The sermon should be from the Bible and have points and a purpose, conversational in manor, with some comical aspects as well as challenging.
4. The simple church service: meet and greet, worship music, prayer/communion, announcements, sermon, altar call/challenge, closing music, meet and greet.
You would think the local churches would want to make these changes listed above to serve all the various people of the community. Unfortunately, many of the local churches continue year after year raising money by overpriced rummage, bake sales and dinners to keep the doors open so those few who still do attend church can meet on Sunday. Well, no way, count me out; I’ll drive to a megachurch! A living church will rely on tithes and offerings from its congregation, who have invested in the local church like it is their own family, and the result will be funds that overflow to serve the community.
[John “JP” Pasquale is a resident of Livingston Manor, NY.]