Thursday, September 22, 2005

New Breed?
I've been thinking a bit about the so-called "new breed", "relevant" churches, in the Hillsongesque style. They seem to be popping up all over the place (such as here, which has one meeting near me, and here.). A common feature of the websites seem to be vision statements about "the church I see" (see also Abundant Life, Bradford).
Stuart Murray writes about "worship oriented" emerging chuches in Church After Christendom.
Many of these churches are growing and doing good stuff.
Obviously you can't lump everyone together, but most seem to have a strong emphasis on music and worship (bands, choirs), slick presentations, small groups, positive teaching (sometimes bordering on or dipping into prosperity or "Word-faith"), social action projects, charismatic gifts (in some settings), tithing/finances and being "trendy".

I like some of this stuff, but I have my concerns. Some is about theology, some about style, some about mission.
Do they really grow through new people or just attract frustrated Christians/church people?
How much are they still influenced by Christendom?
And are they willing to join others and see the bigger picture?

One thing I do know that now is not the time for "one size fits all" solutions. But I worry that in our quest for "success" inherited churches may be tempted to do some of the cosmetic changes to become like these churches without thinking through the implications and doing the missional stuff.

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