As a ministry professional I ponder often about how far the church should mold itself and shift itself to attract and retain people searching for a faith community. For instance, if the local “hip” churches in the area that are busting at the seams tend to do things such as serve breakfast every Sunday morning to having a full hour of pure fun and games for kids during worship as opposed to Christian learning time, is that the direction all churches must follow to reach people for Christ? What are people truly seeking in this community when it comes to a church home? Are they seeking these more modern twists on church? Or are they just looking to feel welcome and part of a family?
I think the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. As a 40-year-old life-long Methodist who has somewhat traditional roots, I can see both sides of this. I play bass in the praise band and I LOVE the rockin’ type of praise songs we do at 9:45 worship. However, there is another side of me that feels strongly about Christian learning for kids (i.e., Sunday school type classes) and more traditional/classic hymns. So what is it really that plugs me in here (other than my job)? The big question I suppose I’m getting at is how much should Huntersville UMC mold and bend itself to attract those who are seeking a deeper relationship to Christ? When do we know when to stop molding and find our personality and claim it?
I wish I could give a definitive answer to that – I’ve seen churches do a complete 180 degree turn around all for the sake of attracting more young adults and kids. Then you wonder what that did to the DNA of the church that existed before the change? How did the membership react to such a drastic shift? Perhaps what all churches need to do at times is to simply re-evaluate who they are, what their mission is, and how they plan to accomplish it. For instance, if our mission is to reach people for Christ, it is logical that we take a serious look at how we are currently going about doing that, whether it’s been effective, and how we can make it better. Many times, if not all times, this means CHANGE.
Yea, I said it . . . CHANGE. It makes me cringe, too, but it is what has helped the church evolve and grow for centuries. We just don’t like it. No one does. But, to be the church God put us here to be, I believe we are facing some changes and I also believe these changes are going to be GOOD changes. Will they be challenging? Yes. Will some folks not like the changes? Most likely. Will God bless us if we are willing to open our hearts and minds to the possibilities? ABSOLUTELY!