Kevin Allen from the Antiochian Church wrote a wonderful article. Read the entire piece here.
Church Growth Orthodox Style
by Kevin Allen
Church growth has become a buzzword in the Protestant and Evangelical Christian world. Being “evangelical” has tended to become a numbers game, and a virtual cottage industry has emerged to figure out how to grow churches. Books, seminars, research companies, seminary classes and church growth “experts” have developed strategies and marketing plans to reach demographic sub-groups like “seekers” and “post-moderns.”
Churches often change or modify their approaches to accommodate these demographic groups and their perceived “needs.” I recently received an attractive, glossy postcard from a local community church, for example, promising Sunday services would be “fun for the whole family!” It is now quite common to see, as another example of this trend towards “user friendliness,” “coffee bars and kiosks” inside churches, serving free latte and crumb cake! The philosophy seems to be, “If you want to hear the sermon, fine! If not, come and have cake!” Church services often include elaborate, high-tech musical presentations to connect with the MTV generation. You hear of skits and short performances being offered — instead of sermons (let alone liturgy or communion!) — in the attempt to create “seeker friendly” church environments. In the frenzy to grow the numbers, many churches are even leaving their traditional denominations, dropping (even) the words “Christian” and “Church” from their names, for cooler ones like “The Rock” or “The Flow.”
Obviously, these contemporary marketing strategies are not the approach the Holy Orthodox Church should take to draw people to the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.” Becoming an Orthodox Christian is a serious commitment to live in community with the faithful according to the apostolic tradition, which is not subject to change in order to accommodate the needs of our fallen culture. Choosing to become Orthodox is not a decision that should be encouraged to be made lightly. Our tradition, our liturgy, our rubrics, our theology, our faith must be understood and internalized. It takes time and effort to adopt the “mind of the Church.” As our Bishop JOSEPH has reminded us time and again, “Our goal must be on quality, not quantity.”
Read the entire piece here.