Is Your Assembly Still Wearing Bell Bottoms?
I was in an airport a few weeks ago and a woman turned the corner in front of me. I thought I was in a time warp looking back to the 1970s. She had a flowy white shirt and massive bell bottom blue jeans. I mean massive.
She stood out. She was in a different era. It made me think that I have seen this before in many assemblies. I have walked in and immediately thought I had been transported back in time to a different era.
Why does it matter?
The reality of the changing culture around us is that being relevant makes a difference. It doesn’t mean we compromise our moral standards, it simply means that when someone walks into a church they are met by people like them. They are not turned off by “strangeness” before they even hear the gospel message.
Another aspect of this is for those that are already a part of the fellowship. Looking at the book Acts, church was a part of everyday life. It wasn’t living one way 6 days a week and then doing a massive time shift for meeting with the church.
What can we do about it?
If your assembly is stuck in an era of a previous generation here are a few tips to help. These are not just to look relevant to newcomers but also to create a better connection between church life and daily life.
- A building facelift. This one isn’t that tough to do. It does require some money and thought but the concept is simple: bring your facilities into the 2000s. New paint, chairs instead of pews, a modern looking foyer etc. There’s no exact answer but a little can go along way.
- Remove old texts. It’s amazing what taking down verse plaques from 1950 with KJV will do to increase relevance. Again, it’s about connecting with the community around you. People do not speak KJV English anymore. So put up verses that are in a modern language.
- Don’t make clothing an issue. We have dealt with this issue in full articles but it’s worth stating again. People should be comfortable coming to church in their regular wardrobe (even if they wear bell bottoms). I love it that at my assembly people wear all different styles from very casual to quite dressed up.
- Use normal language. We probably don’t realize just how much Christianeze we speak. It is a good exercise to express the truths of the Bible in everyday language. For many churches, attendees don’t have English as their first language so making our speech easy to understand is important.
- Sing new songs. This one may be more for your own congregation but it’s important to sing songs that people are singing at home and in the car. It’s a part of making church life congruent with daily life. People should be able to sing on Sunday the songs they love to sing throughout the week.
- Be real. Today’s generations are looking for community and relationships. They want to be a part of something that connects their spiritual walk with their lives. They want to find value in a church not just an addon to their already busy lives.
Being relevant is important to bring in new people to your church and to keep the families you have. Prayer and wisdom are needed to make changes that will bring a greater impact to the fellowship of your assembly.
I pray that our assemblies will take these things seriously and consider what they can do to become more relevant in a changing world around us.