Churches across the U.S. are facing a certain sort of identity crisis. Too often, they are seen as boring and not very relevant activities to pursue in these fast-paced, Web-centric modern times. Others speak of churches' funding needs and their eagerness to get inside your wallet at any opportunity.
Some people view churches only as refuge houses for discredited people, or those whose lives have been torn asunder. While it's true that churches' missions are to bring higher spiritual wisdom to people in times of crisis in their lives, it doesn't mean entirely that churches are there solely for the broken, tired and weary. Church leaders want happy, employed, well-adjusted people to worship with them.
One way churches are combating resistance is to move in unexpected ways. Maybe bringing a sense of style and fashion to the pulpit might work. Dallas, TX-based Pastor Ed Young has launched a website to not only bring his message to people, but to bring it with a stylistic fashion flair. He's said "We need to be conscious of our culture; conscious of things people connect with, like fashion, faith and fashion do intersect. So many pastors look out of date, which tells people that God is out of date too…looking godly is not looking goofy," he added.
To accomplish this, many churches are trying to balance their mission to teach spiritual wisdom while trying to have more fun with the message by being relevant in churchgoers' lives with fun and social activities, shared on social networks and YouTube videos. Bible-thumping churches have a reputation- and have given other churches a reputation- of being closed-minded and all about hellfire and wrath. Contemporary churches are starting to preach grace and faith instead of brimstone and damnation, opening more opportunity for acceptance to new members.
One of the ways this is happening is contemporary videos portraying church pressures in unusual or humorous ways. Having fun with traditional messages seem to be one way that churches can offer a bit of levity with churchgoers without letting go of their common mission. Making things altogether relevant to everyone's personality and way of life will help to grow loyalty and trust in churches among their members.
Other churches, especially megachurches, are using their large numbers to open up new facilities to encourage athletic activities after Sunday worship, or entice people with discounted breakfasts and lunches in massive cafeterias. In these ways, promoting church community through fun and active events can bring about a better identity for all churchgoers.
Churches speak of salvation to their members, and that's a core message in their teachings. But perhaps finding salvation in its approach might be a good course to take for churches across America.