Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

"Our big empty churches"

Here is another great article from World Magazine--this one about the climate of many American churches (Can you tell this is my favorite magazine? I will never be without a subscription...but you can also read many of their articles online).


Mr. Rainey finds the new churches too materialistic and "impersonal in every way." He says that young people today are not impressed with technology, big buildings, and commercialism. He decries the overall emphasis on "stuff" that plagues our culture and now our churches. He says that today's young adults crave real religion.

Mr. Rainey closes his column with these haunting words: "In Europe, mass religious apostasy left its churches people-free, but the American megachurch could bring this irony: We, unlike the Europeans, have people in our big, empty churches."

As my husband and I have been recently church-hunting, I can attest to the truth expressed in this article. We went to one church that was was like a flawless production: Slick, glossy bulletins, impressive graphic-designed overheads, an energetic, hip young pastor, simply packed with people. And yet the place felt rather empty and lonely. It was too polished, for one thing. Too scripted. And too sanitized. Real people have issues, eccentricities, imperfections, spiritual emptiness, genuine joy, and real lives (i.e. DEFINITELY not scripted!) and real ministry should reflect that. Ministry happens in the heart, not before the eyes.

I don't think this is a big church vs. small church issue. My husband and I used to attend a rather large church in the Dallas area that was fantastic. It had a heart: vibrant ministries, sound biblical teaching, and a small-group ministry mentality. I am convinced that churches reach people the best when they center heavily on their small groups, where people can get plugged into others' lives, and enjoy the close fellowship that we all need.


Blogger Nichola said...

I agree with you. Our small church has cell groups that meet during the week and that is a big part of the ministry of the church. My husband and I lead one and issues come up in people's lives that they can't share all the nity grity in a Sunday morning service. They get a lot of ministry at cell.

One of the biggest things we like about our pastor is that he is a real person. He does not pretend to be perfect and does share his imperfections with us.

I'll be praying for you guys in your search.

9:06 AM, August 19, 2005  
Blogger Erin said...

Thank you, Nichola:o)

I hear you about your pastor! That's wonderful. There is nothing I like more in a person than a genuine spirit.

8:31 PM, August 19, 2005  
Blogger Holly said...

What church in Dallas did you and your husband attend??
Curious in Dallas

5:25 PM, August 22, 2005  
Blogger Erin said...


We went to Irving Bible Church. Do you know of it?

We had a great small group within the young marrieds class. We also really liked the pastor and the church's heart for ministry. They have so many neat things that they offer in service to others, and they really try to get all the members involved in some way.

8:12 PM, August 22, 2005  
Blogger Holly said...

I do know it. The church that we just left is modeling there facility they are building after it. I have heard good things, we are having a hard time finding a church home that we feel accepted it. My husband would like something smaller then IBC.


8:50 AM, August 23, 2005  
Blogger Erin said...

I wish we could recommend a smaller church in that area! We actually had a hard time finding the right church in Dallas, so were excited when we found IBC. We found that the key was to get into a small group, because that has a lot of the benefits of being in a small church.
Dallas is a big city! I know there must be some good smaller churches there that we didn't discover. I hope you find just the right place! I know it isn't easy to be looking:op

10:16 PM, August 23, 2005  

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