If You Want to Reach New People, You’ll Need New Methods

There’s nothing wrong with traditional methods of doing church. As long as you want to minister to traditional church members.

There’s nothing wrong with traditional methods of doing church. As long as you want to minister to traditional church members.

People who like traditional styles of church (whatever yours may be) need places to worship, learn and be discipled. Too many of them have felt overlooked, even ridiculed, in recent years as many churches have rushed to make changes.

But.

The traditional church member is dying out.

Literally.

If we truly want to change the world with the Gospel of Jesus, that is less likely to be done using traditional church methods with every passing year.

Traditional Church Methods Will Only Attract Traditional Church People

We need new ways of doing church.

It’s ironic that I’m the guy saying say this. For at least two reasons.

First, I’m one of the old guard. A middle-aged, third generation pastor of a brick-and-mortar church with a mortgage and a full-time salary.

Sure, the church I pastor has a slightly younger demographic than the average. And yes, we started dressing casually before most churches did. But if the sight of church members wearing jeans while sipping a coffee as they listen to the sermon feels radical—well, that’s just one evidence of how nonradical we really are.

Second, as a traditional church guy, I have no idea what I’m asking for. None.

What would a truly God-breathed, Bible-honoring, life-transforming, people-reaching, radical change in the way we do church look like? I have no idea.

But I do know this. We’re not just looking at one idea or one new way to do church. We need to be open to a whole lot of new ideas and new ways to do church. 

The days of landing on one particular church format, then promoting it as the best way to do church, then duplicating it everywhere, can’t end soon enough.

Future Church Possibilities

Actually, there are a handful of principles that I think are likely to become more common in the next few years. I think the new, dynamic church is likely to be:

Pages: 1 2

Karl Vaters
Karl Vaters is the author of The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches and the Small Thinking That Divides Us. He’s been in pastoral ministry for over 30 years and has been the lead pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Fountain Valley, California for over 20 years. He’s also the founder of NewSmallChurch.com, a blog that encourages, connects and equips innovative Small Church pastors.