I think it’s time we saw that the world has changed and what we know how to do — Sunday liturgies, capable preaching, Sunday ministries of teaching and welcoming — stopped being enough many years ago.
In drifting away from church, you see, people aren’t saying no to God or to faith. They are saying no to Sunday church.
They do so for a variety of reasons. For some two-income families and hard-charging young adults, Sunday is the one day to get a slow start. Audience-style worship is too passive for a Web 2.0 world that is customer-centric and transactional.
The Multichannel Church will incorporate some or all of these avenues:
• Sunday on-site: Sunday worship, Sunday education, fellowship (e.g. coffee hour).
• Weekday on-site: Weekday suppers, education programs, mission work, volunteering.
• Regional gatherings: Neighborhood assemblies, workplace and other targeted interest groups. Larger congregations will have multiple sites for all that they do, including Sunday worship. Medium and small churches will have satellite centers for weekday community-building, but worship at the central site on Sunday.
• Home gatherings: Small groups, including informal devotion and prayer.
• Personal spirituality: 24/7 access, self-determining, using classic devotional tools, Web-delivered content and personal ingenuity.
• Virtual community: Blogs, discussion groups, chats, polls, social networking, Q&A venue.
• Special community events: One-time events that facilitate mass participation by the entire congregation, with a focus on forming identity.
• Published word: Possibilities include magazine, self-published books, shared journals and homegrown devotionals.
• E-mail marketing: Strong use of e-mail to market opportunities, to draw people to the Web site, to facilitate sharing with non-church friends, and to promote transactions such as registering for an event.
Article from The Lutheran Staff Blog:
Almost two-thirds -64 percent- of congregations that switched to contemporary worship in the last five years saw an increase in worship attendance of 2 percent or more…
Robert Schaefer responds:
When thinking about worship, first I would propose Lutherans need to start with the center — namely it is the Triune God who acts in the means of grace, the word and sacraments. Second, we have a simple pattern for our worshiping assemblies that shows up in the New Testament church and has been used by generations of Christians ever since: gathering, word, meal and sending. Only third does style capture our attention. Here there is great freedom and flexibility in the song and style a given assembly uses to express what God is doing through this common pattern of gathering around word and sacrament. In this context we would encourage an ever expanding repertoire of contemporary, global, as well as classic music and texts to make the proclamation of the gospel accessible in this time and place, while linking it to every time and place.