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Sunday
Jul292007

The Ideal Church

Of course no congregation is perfect. But here's what I find myself looking for as I visit congregations across the Metro Washington area.

  • Something contemporary.  Whether a separate service, or a nod to change in the traditional service, there needs to be some acknowledgement that no matter how great your traditional worship, it is not indigenous to the people around you.
  • Racial, ethnic, age diversity
  • Joy.  There should be a sense of gladness to come together, signs that the people in the church are excited to see one another and are engaged in each other's lives.  As I reflect on all the churches of which I've chosen to be a part, this is plainly obvious as people chatter before church, and linger after.
  • Service.  The church should be engaged in the larger community and serving the poor and needy.
  • Open minds.  Not an overly fundamentalist congregation so committed to the "infallible Word of God!" that they overlook the fallible translations of man.
  • Young adults.  Just a few, friendly ones would be fine.  But I need to know there are some people there with whom I can become friends and activity partners.
  • And, though not at all a requirement, it would be nice to be a part of a church with something OLD as well as something contemporary.  I loved being at a church where I had symphony, choir, AND rock band.  That was indigenous to ME.
  • KJV-free.  The church should use a more contemporary , and more accurate, translation of the Bible as its primary translation.

Slightly off topic, but on another note, I think that in an area like Washington, DC, there need to be new or changing churches NOT ONLY to attract new believers, but to assemble like-minded folks.  Typically, I would agree that churches shouldn't try to grow through stealing other churches' members.   But in this city, there seems to be such a lack of authenticity in the churches (that is, they dress, behave, and worship in a way that is not representative of the truth of their people).  I think the mission statement from Ginghamsburg applies here -- "To win the lost and set the oppressed free."    And in this case, the "oppressed" include younger adults being buried alive in the dead traditions of the old church.

 

 

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