The Mistake That Will Not Die

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Where Multiple Styles of Worship Work

35 years ago, Carl Dudley, in is "Making the Small Church Effective," wrote of the real differences in churches. It had nothing to do with size; it had everything to do with whether a church was a "single cell" church (i.e., everyone was of the same general race, language, and culture) or a "multiple cell" church.
The latter churches, reaching out to different generations, different cultures, different languages, etc. worked best if they could have multiple styles of worship and ministry, one for each major grouping within its membership. Up into the 1960's this used to be done through multiple adult Sunday School classes, where each one became a sub-congregation and did their own worship style. (Did there ever exist a local UMC that didn't have a "Homebuilders" adult Sunday School class where none of its members had built a home in 50 years?)
Single cell churches cannot afford to do Multiple forms of worship. But, that doesn't mean they have to try to copy the styles of large churches in our denomination or of non-denominational megachurches. We need to give them permission to have a worship style that works for them. If they function well (and my metric on that is having at least 80% of their membership in church on most Sundays), they are vital. Case closed.

Tom Griffith more than 4 years ago

Statistics don't lie (but statisticians may)

Towers Watson reported a connection between worship and vitality, but never ever said there was a causal connection. So even for the 350+ member churches, we don't know if varied worship begats vitality, or do vital churches then like to offer varied worship.

Jim Allen more than 5 years ago

Notable Quotes


"Harsh and direct disagreement places thought under pressure. That’s its point. Pressure can be intellectually productive: being forced to look closely at arguments against a beloved position helps those who hold it to burnish and buttress it as often as it moves them to abandon it. But pressure also causes pain and fear; and when those under pressure find these things difficult to bear, they’ll sometimes use any means possible to make the pressure and the pain go away. They feel unsafe, threatened, put upon, and so they react by deploying the soft violence of the law or the harder violence of the aggressive and speech-denying protest. Both moves are common enough in our élite universities now, as is their support by the powers that be. Tolerance for intellectual pain is less than it was. So is tolerance for argument."

– Paul Griffiths, former professor of Catholic theology at United Methodist-related Duke University Divinity School, in an article for Commonweal magazine on why he resigned over a recent conflict with a colleague related to racism training.


   

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