The New Traditional Church

Over the last few decades, people became bored with church as usual. They no longer wanted hymns, a choir, the traditional piano and organ accompaniment, and the uptight dress code that became known somewhere along the line as church. I can understand some of these things. As the society around the church began to change, the church was singing “I Shall Not Be Moved”. In response to this, there arose the new traditional church, or the contemporary church.

Some of you are probably wondering why I call the contemporary church “the new traditional church”. I have several reasons. Here are the characteristics of most of these churches:

1. The show – lights, camera, action! Flashing lights on stage, dim lighting in the audience, and perhaps a fog machine. Everything is cued to perfection. If everything doesn’t go as planned, someone just might get fired or replaced.

2. The dress code – the crowd is pretty casual, but those on stage must have the hipster physique.

3. The music selection – it better be top 40s Christian hits or forget it! I guess songs have an expiration date?!?

4. The service flow – Upbeat song followed by a welcome. A few more worship songs. An offering. Perhaps a video. A message (maybe with an invitation). Come back next week for the same thing😀.

Do you see the trend? Churches say they are cutting edge, but they have become the new tradition. A lot of churches are slow to catch on, but many are copying this. The goal of many churches is to be Elevation Church, Newspring Church, or something similar. I’m not knocking these churches because God is using them in the lives of people. So why post a blog about this?

Churches should strive to be Spirit-led rather than led by the latest trends. Sure, some people want trendy but others want something authentic. They want to go to a place that feels like home and welcomes a move of God rather than tries to manipulate people’s emotions by manufacturing something. 

I have said some similar things recently while approaching it from a different angle. You might think your church is pretty hip and contemporary, only to find that it is copying at least several hundred churches across the country. 

I will close with this video. It’s pretty funny, but I think you will see everything I’ve shared in video form.

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14 thoughts on “The New Traditional Church

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  1. It is so refreshing to hear such truths from “an insider” indoctrinated from within the corruption. Praise God it is Christ’s Body, it is His Church, His Bride, and HE is about to come upon the leaders of the Church in judgment; only a remnant will remain, just as with Israel. As John the Baptist exhorted the Jews to bear the fruit of repentance, many such as myself exhort every member of the Body of Christ to do the same today. “It is time for judgment to begin in God’s household.” (1 Peter 4:17). “Our God is a consuming fire… ” (Heb. 12:29)

  2. Jesus said: “I Am the way, the truth and the life.” “No one goes to the Father except through the Son.”
    Many churches as you have accurately addressed are acquiescing to the world. To be more appealing to a changing world. But the best of what Christianity is, is in tradition. The Apostles were martyred because they lived by Christ’s Word. “You are mine, and are not of the world. If you were of the world, the world loves its own. But you are not of the world. And since the world hates me it hates you.”
    The Church that Christ founded is a refuge to the world. In time, the world will see the errors of its ways. And if the Church is as chaotic as the world, how then can it be seen different from the world for those who seek refuge.
    We must be careful not to ignore our Church’s tradition. For as we move down the path called progress, we may very well leave the best of who we are behind.
    -Alan

  3. Interesting. I don’t think that I have been to a church with the smoke and flashing lights, but did visit a church that was dark. I believe we are using this as a technique or gimmick to draw people when the focus of worship should be for the saints/members.

  4. “…a move of God rather than tries to manipulate people’s emotions by manufacturing something. ” This is a very important concept. Even though we are created with emotions, and emotions can be part of our experience with God, they are a part of us that can be particularly manufactured to imitate reality, and/or simply manipulated based on what’s going on in individuals physically (lack of sleep, stress, or even hormones….) Holiness is not hype. Not that hype is always bad, it just needs to be in it’s place. And that takes the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

  5. Yes lol. I have been to many churches like this. Very traditional and very contemporary. Either way they look the same. Every thing going the same way each Sunday. Now I like to be overwhelmed with the Holy Spirit but the actions from the stage is not what gets me there. The songs and the message especially the message. If you’re going to put a show on like that or if you’re a traditional service you better have a good message because i’m a note taker I love to hear great things spoken directly to me and I love to write them down. By the way at my church we may run around the sanctuary we may fall out overwhelmed with the Holy Spirit. Just my 3 cents worth. Great post.

  6. Awesome video! 🙂 [That was like putting your post to video].
    Loved this post.
    Will have to watch this video again. Thanks!

      1. It’s great!
        I’ll definitely repost it one day – the humor is ‘good medicine’ (obviously effective because it’s true).

  7. This was very interesting. Very, very true though. I am from the “old school” that says “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” There is a need today for bigger and better no matter how good something already is. I have realized that there is no more contentment in much that we accomplish today. In the grand scheme of things in the world today, it is never enough. One thing I thought that was hilarious in the video was the development of the new words. Lol…Seriously though, we have to have a church program that details every step in the church service rather than beginning with prayer and let the Holy Spirit move from there. I do believe that if we had more services like this, more people would be healed, delivered and changed. By the way, maybe the focus is on decently and in order? Just my thoughts…

  8. Thank you for your writing. I struggle with “performance” services. The challenge is to balance that with the message of the pastor and if God’s Holy Spirit touches your heart during the service. A side benefit seems to be more people becoming involved in praise and worship rather than remaining “sitting back” observers.

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