5 Specific Ways The Current Approach to Church Seems Badly Outdated


You open the doors to your church every weekend hoping more people will come (or in some cases, hoping somebody comes) only to discover that, with few exceptions, more people rarely do.

That appears to be especially true as churches reopen in the midst of the coronavirus.

It can get discouraging, and many leaders wring their hands over what to do and how to respond.

Even once-growing churches hit plateaus and stumble into decline, and we wonder why it’s so hard to gain traction.

One of the reasons so many churches struggle these days is that the way we do church is badly outdated.

Culture is changing rapidly, which means people are changing rapidly. If you want to reach people, that probably also means you need to change your approach rapidly.

That freaks out a lot of Christians who think that because the message never changes, nothing should change.

There’s a huge difference between changing the message and changing the method.

In the church’s case, the historic message doesn’t change. But the methods have to.

Here’s why: if you don’t change your methods, eventually no one will hear your message.

I have a sinking feeling if we sat down with young adults and asked them why we do things the way we do, we’d hear an earful.

As the pace of change accelerates around us with every passing month, here are 5 ways the way we do church appears ever-more outdated.

1. Making People Go to Church

As I outlined  a few years ago in my 2018 church trends post, the idea of only doing church in a ‘box’ on Sundays is an increasingly stale idea.

In the (very near) future, people won’t go to church. The church will go to people.

As desperately as church leaders are trying to encourage people to return to church, the disruption of 2020 has only accelerated that trend.

Not sure what that means?

Think about how much your life has changed in the last 15 years.

Quick example: Let’s say I want to buy a specific wooden monitor stand for my iMac (which I do). I have two options.

Option 1: Traipse to store after store looking for what feels like a needle in a haystack (I want a walnut one), realizing, in the end, I likely need to go to Toronto or some major city to find one that a) I like, b) fits my particular computer and c) is in my price range. (Not factoring in, of course, a lot of phone calls, a day of lost travel time and tons of gas money).

Option 2: Browse Amazon and Etsy from my phone, order the monitor and have it shipped to my house next day.

Which would you choose?


Despite a welcome and thoughtful backlash against technology and what it’s doing to our minds (and souls), the internet is still not going away anytime soon.

There was a day when going to church was the only option you had if you wanted to be part of a local church.

A century or more ago, you lived in a village or city or on a farm, and you made the trek into town or over a few blocks to hear the local preacher. It was also a chance to connect relationally and socially. Honestly, for many people a century ago it was a highlight of their week.

The car gave people mobility, so we created bigger suburban churches to which people drove.

As a result, our entire model for the last century or more has been built on people going to church as though it was a destination and physical place.

But back up the timeline earlier than that, and you realize that the church going to people is not that innovative. Entire denominations and movements were premised on bringing the church to people (think circuit preachers or even the Apostle Paul).

Now, of course, we have the internet. Which most church leaders still seem to ignore as a serious tool for ministry.

So many churches remain stuck in the idea that the only way you can access the Gospel is to come to our building at a set hour every week.

Want access beyond that? Not sure how to help you.

Too many churches operate an analog model in a digital world.

Churches that want to reach people will bring the church to people, through:

A great social media presence

Messages available anytime, anywhere in multiple formats (web, social, podcast)

In-home gatherings

Practical help/advice/encouragement for everyday life (like the ParentCue strategy)

Partnerships in the community with other organizations that are making a difference (which not only does good, but takes you out of your box and into where the people you’re trying to reach gather)

Ironically, when churches begin to go to people, it makes people also want to go to church.

Because you went to them, they will want to come to you.

It creates a reciprocal, daily relationship. Whatever you do during the week builds on what happened on the weekend. And whatever you do on the weekend built on what happened during the week.

But most churches still only want people to come to them. That clock is ticking…fast.

2. Separating The Analogue and Digital Worlds

If 2020 is the year where (finally) the digital becomes real for church leaders, the question becomes what to do with it.

Strangely, most churches still separate what they do digitally and what they do in the real world.

Most of us weave seamlessly between our digital and real lives, texting someone one minute and sitting down for coffee with them the next, emailing someone to follow up on the meeting we just had, and video chatting someone we’re hanging out with Friday night.

Too many church leaders still think of their:

  • Email list as a ‘newsletter’
  • Social media as an announcement and PR venue
  • The physical world as the ‘real thing’

You know what the digital world is? It’s relationship.

It’s a friendship. And like all good friendships, it doesn’t fit in a programmatic box.

Our guest services team at Connexus has noticed a huge shift in the last year where almost everyone who visits us in person has watched online for weeks or months before they set foot in a building.

I go to parties and people who never set foot in a church tell me they watch my messages online.

They don’t see it as separate.

Church leaders who do, lose.

Conversely, leaders who see the analog/digital life as seamless will be in much a better position to reach people who live like it’s seamless, because it is.

3. Ignoring True Community

Is there any irony in the digital explosion around us? Of course there is.

The more connected we become, the more disconnected we feel.

The church should embrace technology as a way to connect, but also realize that as people connect more digitally, they feel increasingly isolated and removed from each other.

What people hunger for most is community. And no one should be better at community than the local church.

The challenge, of course, is that we’re not all that great at community.

Too often our ‘fellowship’ is shallow, or we fight a lot.

What’s missing in far too many churches is love. The very thing for which we should be known.

Churches that become great at cultivating true community will have a long line of people wanting to be part of it.

4. Creating a 100% Downloadable Or Forgettable Experience

I outline the problem with downloadable church services in this post, but let’s drill down a more.

Yes, the church will become more digital, more location independent, more remote. Sermons can be consumed on a run, on a commute and while cooking dinner. I get that. That’s a good thing. You should be able to download snippets of what your church does so you can be present in peoples lives.

But you need to facilitate experiences that go beyond that.

If your entire church experience is 100% downloadable, why would you gather? It’s often in the gathering when people move beyond themselves and experience something transcendent and life-changing.

Ironically, the constant consumption of content leaves people hungering for greater community, greater experience and greater transcendence.

Churches that facilitate those kinds of experiences are seeing momentum. Churches that don’t find it far harder to gain momentum.

I realize this creates a sea of questions for some people.

One of the best questions you can ask as a church leader is “If people show up on a Sunday, have we left enough room for them to encounter God?” That can be done through music, through prayer, through silence and even through the way you preach. It’s a posture as much as it’s programming.

Too often, people show up at church hoping to find God. Instead, they find us.

Don’t let people show up to your church only to find you.

This is one of the highest value points of a church that gathers: you share in something far bigger and far better than any of us and all of us.

And of course, you can create a similar outcome digitally.

5. Being Mediocre

One of the challenges most leaders face is trying to do a great ministry on limited resources.

Since we’re all hyper-connected, it means many churches try to imitate larger churches in what they do, often with limited success.

While you just don’t have the talent, skill or ability to pull off what a church 10 or 100x your size does, that doesn’t stop many from trying.

The result is usually mediocrity. Add the restrictions in with social distancing, masks and the challenges of coronavirus and that complicates things even more.

Years ago Jim Collins asked a great question that should still haunt every leader: what can you be best in the world at?

How would you answer that?

Just because you can’t be great at everything doesn’t mean you can’t be great at anything.

The key is to isolate the principles or points that resonate most.

You may not be the best preacher in the world, but what aspect of your preaching connects best?

Your stories?

The way you make the complex simple?

How you handle scripture?

Your relatability?

The personal connection you create with your audience?

Discover what connects best and develop that. 

Musically, you may not have a great band…but do you have a

Fantastic vocalist?

Great keyboardist?

Solid guitar player?

Good DJ?

Focus on what makes you great.

And no, you don’t have an unlimited budget, but meaningful connection with other people is free. So is kindness. So is hope.

Stop being mediocre at everything.

Pick a lane, and go deep.

You can branch out from there.

In an age where people create amazing art, design, products and services from home-based businesses, mediocrity is no longer an effective strategy.

What Do You See?

What parts of our model of doing church do you see as being outdated?

Anything you’d love to change?

Scroll down and leave a comment


5 Specific Ways The Current Approach to Church Seems Badly Outdated


  1. Walter Swaim on July 26, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    As I’m reading this it hit me, the push to be together is not as is said here, that church is just about meeting in the building. Meeting together physically was never about a building, it’s about being physically together wherever it is… and digital falls short of that very quickly… at least for the committed believers.

    We use hybrid and even digital alone more than ever and frankly it’s not attended well like at first. I know, I know, we’re a small church with few resources and attractiveness like large churches and staffs, so I get it. But even my early 30 something’s are asking to bring our gatherings back to the church. So not sure how far and how much we’ll take digital in the long run.

    Interesting how Jesus chose to establish his church not in the digital age but in ancient times where you had no choice but to gather physically together only, even in persecution.

    • Jay King on December 13, 2021 at 9:15 am

      Walter: Today is a very different time that we can’t ignore. Doing God at the speed of thought (digital)💭 is mandatory….

  2. David Grachek on April 29, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    True Community – what is your definition of the future True Community?

  3. matt scott on October 12, 2020 at 6:38 am

    We are in fact losing whole generations of young and middle-age people. The church where the middle-age-to old-white-guy (yes, i am an older white guy also), stands in the pulpit and tells people how it is, is so far from connecting with the world that it is now a parody in many people’s conscience. The only thing probably worse is the young pastor who is trying so hard to be cool. In the past even non-believers harbored some fear of God in the back of their minds, but now church, as we know it, is a joke to most non-believers and this has lead to a backlash against the whole idea of God.

    Do not worry to much about the Church that Christ died for; it will endure. But the joy we are all missing out on by being stuck to the “traditions of man” is what this yearning is we feel inside: the desire to be relevant to others for the sake of the Gospel. Remember, how we do church is a collection of ideas from the Bible, not a list the Christ handed out in a planning meeting one afternoon by the Sea of Galilee. You can change up some things – it’s OK. Some days Jesus taught in the synagogue, other days he taught out under a tree. He taught while reclining at a table, He taught while standing in the cool shade of Solomon’s colonnade in the temple courts. I assume if Christ were here with us today, he would have a cell phone and a Gmail account (hard to imagine and probably making some folks cringe). He used what was relevant to the people He preached to. Stories of sheep for the shepherds, stories of fish for the fisherman, stories of how to build a solid house for the construction worker in the crowd. And people GOT IT!

    We need to congregate, there is little doubt, but if people can’t SEE Christ in how we live outside the four-walls of the physical church building, the game is over. We congregate to praise God and rejuvenate our souls BECAUSE there is a battle to be fought. Getting out there in the lost and dying world and getting some dirt under our fingernails.

    It is obvious from some of the comments above that the old bastions will not go quietly. But in fact, that need not affect what you and I do. Those folks are stuck inside their buildings with dogma and liturgy that have already made them irrelevant to all but those raised up in that particular denomination and worship form. I look forward to the changing world around us – helping new generations discover the real truth in new ways. Jesus was cutting edge in pretty much everything He did while still respecting and embracing the truth. I want to be like my Savior. I want to be gentle like a lamb to those in need, and roar like a lion when it is time for the truth to be heard. The gentle lamb is what makes the roaring lion effective. Without becoming relevant to those around us by living like Christ, we become just a roaring lion in a cage at the zoo: an oddity that attracts some attention, but of little value or use.

    • Jay King on December 13, 2021 at 9:20 am

      Matt your incredible. I am in tears. Thanks for what you have wrote. I am using it as a sermon lol…

  4. Doc Jacobs on June 22, 2020 at 5:04 pm

    Quarantine has been humbling. I’ve taught for 3 years at a revitalization, saying that we need to go out and build relationship with the community and invite them to follow Jesus with us. However, I have not engaged social media because I value authenticity. God challenged me to enter the virtual community that I wasn’t comfortable with and it has confirmed all that you shared in this article. Thanks for this. I hope to learn more with y’all and grow together in Jesus and for his mission. Good stuff! Peace!

  5. Frank Schlesinger on June 20, 2020 at 9:27 am

    Nice article, but you left out the most important reason to go to Church.
    “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight”. Acts 20:7. They came together to break bread, and oh, by the way, Paul preached to them. We come to “break bread”. Everything else is just “Stuff.” You can’t take The Lord’s Supper over the internet. Also, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25. He said, As The Manner Of Some Is. I believe we’ll keep Church with The Lord’s Supper on Sunday morning. Every Sunday morning. Not one Sunday a month, not one Sunday a quarter. Not one “Communion Sunday” a year. All the rest, preaching, singing, fellowship, showing love, Etc, Etc. is just extra. They came TOGETHER to “BREAK BREAD.” And, while they were there, Paul preached to them.

    • jen on June 27, 2020 at 6:05 pm

      Let us pray that soon soon SOON it can happen.

  6. John Cormier on June 20, 2020 at 6:25 am

    Much has been written over the centuries about who god is. Differences in the approach of the three main branches, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant have added to the confusion. One of the largest things to drive people mad is the doctrine of hell and how it potrays a “loving father.” You can have great music and a host of other things but if god is presented as loving and yet has made sure that part of his eternal plan is conscious eternal torment then you are asking people to leave their brains at the door. The challenges to this doctrine are increasing and must be dealt with openly and honestly. Questions are the answer and must be allowed.

    • KT Kishan on November 28, 2021 at 8:03 pm

      Thoroughly agree with you. In the beginning God created Heaven and Earth, no mention of Hell

      • Mark Armstrong on November 28, 2021 at 10:35 pm

        Any systematic theology will give you a sound, biblical basis for hell. Try Wayne Grudem, Luois Berkhof, or John Frame whose systematic theologies condense and summarise the biblical material. It’s not a product of different traditions. A sound biblical hermeneutic which recovers authorial intention will yield helpful results.

  7. J on October 10, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    Is this article in Spanish?

  8. Mark Armstrong on December 30, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    That’s for an insightful article. I would say that we need to be careful that our theology of church is driven by Scripture and not sociological and technological factors. Church is simply the gathering of believers. I suppose the internet allows us to gather in different ways, but there are things that the internet can never facilitate. These include, of course, the depth of relationships which form in each others physical presence. Could my wife and I sustain a close relationship if we lived in different houses and communicated only via social media? A good eschatology also influences the way we think about church in the here-and-now. Perhaps this needs further exploration because I think that Carey’s social insights are really, really helpful.

    • Walter Swaim on June 20, 2020 at 4:37 pm

      Agreed. “What people hunger for most is community. And no one should be better at community than the local church.” The second half of that is so good – Carey nails it here. The first part of the sentence I am not quite sure about due to statistics I have read where people prefer being away from others and so they are experiencing more isolation in spite of being connected with so many other people through that same technology.

      Also so many of us pastors thought people would be hungry to get back to church after this, but due to the media frenzy & misinformation creating so much fear, we are seeing many are still staying inside (even when they don’t have to). I wonder if the lack of people returning to the church building isn’t due to a love for their technology (I hear them being tired of it, used as a necessity not recreationally) but a love for staying artificially “safe” by staying away from others. BUT if its recreational (or political) they will go anywhere now in the droves but then tell their pastor on the following Sunday “we’re still playing it safe” (huh?). I’ve said this before (please forgive me for doing so here again) if in a year or two we’ll read a post by Carey that due to the oversaturation of technology in people’s lives they are trending away to physical presence, including churches. I wonder.

  9. Ian on December 20, 2018 at 11:42 am

    This article affirms a lot of what the leadership of the congregation that I belong to is doing. The preaching is consistently from the Bible with emphasis on both every individual building their relationship with God and our relationships with each other. Sermons are available online as a podcast and from the website, which is kept up to date, and the church has active social media accounts. There’s an app that can be used for online tithes and offerings. The music team is talented and there are small groups that meet throughout the week in people’s homes. A year ago we went from one morning service to two morning services on most Sundays. I’m certain our leaders study what works and doesn’t work for other similar congregations and, God willing, focus on implementing what works.

  10. Mark McDonald on December 19, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    Thanks for a great article, like some comments I am curious how a small church might engage digital. In my setting (50-60 people) the church wanted to revert back to print material, but we didn’t even have Facebook or Instagram. So in our setting we are starting our digital strategy with social media to have a presence online.

    Two things I think are outdated:
    1. Prayer Books – I like having a structured church service but in the era of digital projection we need to ditch the physical prayer book. In my last church a visitor would need a song book, bible and prayer book, with the liturgy in two parts of the prayer book. In my current church all of that is projected on the screen, same Anglican liturgy but easier for the visitor to follow.
    2. Promoting the latest church trend – I see too many church websites in Australia promoting how their church model is better than others. Even some churches who promote everything but Sunday. Even in a secular country like Australia, most non christians who don’t go to church still think of church as a Sunday thing. Most non christians who don’t attend church don’t care about the latest model of church or the new rediscovery of early church missional communities etc etc. Churches need to open the gospel for people and stop promoting the latest missional model.

    • Val on December 22, 2018 at 6:10 pm

      This is so refreshing to read. We have to realize that most of what we do in church today belongs to an era that will die with us and, probably, sooner. So ‘church’ doesn’t change, but the way we do it does and trying to preserve the status quo is a death sentence. What I appreciate most about this article are the practical suggestions.

    • Jim on December 27, 2018 at 9:25 am

      I hear you, I tried changing some music, nobody new came, I created a website, nobody new came, I added an evening service for who couldn’t come in the morning, nobody came, I preached relevant sermons, used power point, nobody new came. I went back to just teaching the Word of God and now were starting to see new faces slowly but surely

  11. Roy Brockmeier on December 19, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Hi Carey, love your column and outlook on the needs of today’s church. As a Parish Administrator I was interested in the financial processes as well as the human interaction and relationships. Is there a benchmark for financials that would be a topic of discussion or review so a priority of stewardship investment for healthy churches might be suggested. As a long-term mainline protestant (Lutheran, ELCA) congregation we are going through some process re-engineering that is trying to overcome years of silo’ed ministries without effective coordination or use of human resources. With 60+% of our general operating fund budget being spent on salaries and benefits, it doesn’t leave much wiggle room for operations beyond building maintenance and servicing the mortgage. Happy to discuss at further length if appropriate. Blessings, Roy

  12. Sonny J. Reeves on December 19, 2018 at 8:58 am

    The internet and time in my retirement from the active ministry has given me time to do a serious study of the early Church, Church history pre-Nicene, and the reformation of the middle ages, plus the restoration movement around the “Great Awaking” in America. I studied the dry bones of church history 50 yrs ago in bible college, but the innovations and discoveries, the ability to read ancient documents and see artifacts in museums relating to the first century are awesome learning tools. Where did we lose the simple Gospel, the love for next door neighbors, community and being salt? When do we return to those simple commands to “One Another” with God’s Love? When will we be the Church Jesus died for, prayed that we would be “One” in union with the Father? If we find common ground in the resurrection of our Lord, my God, and King, what more do we need? Money? Power? Control? or just love our neighbor, forgive our enemies, wash the feet of our brothers and sisters. “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”
    ― St. Augustine

  13. Dennis on December 19, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Not too long ago (maybe 25 years?) it was a contest to see which church could snag the most highly educated pastor. It didn’t matter if he was impersonal, aloof, a boring preacher, and the world’s biggest narcissist as long as he had a string of “alphabet soup” degrees after his name. It was a delight for the trustees to HAVE to hire a sign painter to emblazon the church sign with “The Reverend, Doctor Ignatz Fizzlewicz, DD, Phd, MDiv, DMin, BTh, MTS, BA, – Senior Pastor.” Those days are gone. What people want in a pastor is someone who is relatable, not someone who has spent most of their life attaining various degrees. Nothing wrong with education, mind you, but when that becomes the most important qualification something’s wrong.
    I trust the church that doesn’t even put the pastor’s name on it’s sign (or anywhere else for that matter) much more than I trust one that makes the pastor’s name and degrees more prominent than it’s mission.

  14. Michael Wilson on January 20, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    I thought the article was very insightful I am not sure that we haven’t gotten a bit lazy in our approach to God because it’s our life test to find Him in our life and these duties are our road to heaven .So we still need that community for our spiritual development.However this was a well done article and quite thought provoking.

  15. Dwyte Hoffman on January 17, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    When I started reading this post, I was concerned that you would miss the personal connection and relational aspects of churches…until I got to points 3,4 & 5. As a layman, I shared my concern with our pastor that in the process of going high tech, our church was losing its high touch aspect. I have seen many new pastors come into an older existing church and in an attempt to revitalize and update it, they totally ignore or dispose of, the church’s strengths and character that should be built on rather than discarded (in most cases). That’s why I especially like & agree with, your points 3,4 & 5.

  16. Brandon May on January 17, 2018 at 11:47 am

    This was extremely helpful! If I am honest, the longer I pastor, the more convinced I am that the “win” is not centered around Sunday interactions. Focussing on how many people we can develop into disciple making, holy spirit lead followers of Jesus is to me, the real win. Winning at “disciple making, disciple makers” is what I see over and over in scripture and if I can develop the people God has already entrusted to me, then I believe that the church will grow in a way that I still have not figured out. I planted a church in my hometown of Augusta, GA and I tried sexy Sunday church for the first 2 years. About 18 months ago, we totally changed our approach by getting specific about why we (another church in a church filled city) were even here. We got honest with ourselves and took a look at our personal pasts. For me, I grew up in church but outside of my parents, I could only think of one person who actually came alongside of me and poured into my life as a “mentor.” Because of that relationship, I was inspired to spend my life in church leadership. Sadly, many of my friends who grew up in church with me did not have the same experience.

    So at Illuminate Church, we decided that the “win” for us is to be sure we get super intentional about training up mentors that would love on, pray for and walk people through their faith. This is not the same as traditional small group ministry. We do not allow our mentors to disciple more than 4 at a time. We’ve learned that after 4 people, the “personal connection” gets more and more watered down.

    This is certainly not a very sexy approach because training the first group mentors takes a long time. But now that we have trained them, they have already begun the disciple making process and we are excited about how making disciples is going to organically multiply in the coming years.

    I appreciate this article as helpful insight for our team. I only share a little snap shot of our story to continue the conversation that this article inspires. Thanks for your help CN!

    • Grant Conklin on January 17, 2018 at 11:53 am

      I really like your response and approach, Brandon. But, you do know what sexy means, right?

  17. Daniel Burton on January 17, 2018 at 10:17 am

    It feels like the struggle with technology that the church has is hinted at in this article. The church, by its theological nature and definition is relational and connection based with dedication, whereas the “current trends” seem to isolate and attempt to fit church in to a busy schedule. People DO listen to sermons on podcasts etc (a good thing as you stated) but I wouldn’t say they have received the church experience. There is a whole aspect of fellowship and coming together as one body of believers to physically be with one another.

    The challenge then is how to feed people true authentic faith in a largely digital world. The internet, social media, and the like are all tools not endgames. The question should be how to we leverage the power of the tools we have been given to communicate the Gospel and prepare the saints for ministry.

    I agree in part with what you are saying in that I don’t feel anything is bad, just incomplete. Bringing church to a person is evangelistic in nature (a good thing), but overlooks discipleship and accountability in a digital context (a not good thing). Adding discipleship and community digitally is a deeper question that I don’t think the church has found an answer to yet because it is a harder and deeper question, yet a question I would argue with tremendous potential for impact and ground breaking growth. Rather than a flashy presentable 100% downloaded church experience, discipling whole congregations to meet together, support one another, and train for the purpose and plan that God has given them.

  18. Scott on January 15, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    Old ways of thinking, news ways of thinking and God’s way of thinking. Not all necessarily mutually exclusive, but it does take some serious thinking to get the right balance. That said, there must never be a time where we do not consider new and old ways of doing things without measuring them against God’s thoughts as revealed in His word.

    • Annie on January 15, 2018 at 11:43 pm

      Here is what one church in the Canadian mid-west is doing to address many of the issues discussed in this post.


      As quoted from the above website:

      “The vision of Church Renewal is to be a catalyst for church renewal in Canada and beyond.

      This is a lofty vision but one for which God has given clear and simple direction and strategies. Through Church Renewal, Lead Pastor Ray and Fran Duerksen from Southland Church in Steinbach Manitoba are working with pastors across Canada to bring renewal to the Canadian Church.

      As a result we are seeing lives and churches transformed!

      We believe that if the Church is going to be effective, it needs to be centered in prayer.

      Prayer is the catalyst for transformation, renewal, and the expansion of God’s Kingdom and God has called His Church to this purpose.

      If you are a church leader, we would love to have you join us at one of our next Church Renewal Weekends!”

    • keith on January 21, 2018 at 9:56 pm

      Good practical thoughts, on a tongue in cheek subject, I believe. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sandra on August 8, 2021 at 8:56 pm

      Well said Scott. Church as the body of Christ is the model. We gather together however you feel best in order to sit at His feet and learn of Him, to build up one another in the faith, to remember what our salvation cost our Saviour and to rekindle our awareness of God’s grace in making us His children. We don’t meet, in whatever form – physically or digitally – as a social club or service institution but as His people to fellowship with Him and each other and be strengthened for the task He left us ‘to go into all the world and preach the gospel and make disciples of all men.’ The Church needs to be careful that it doesn’t loose its God given purpose by trying to make itself palatable to the world at the expense of neglecting the God given primary function of the gathered Church to teach and build up the saints.

  19. Jon on January 15, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    Carey, thanks for wading through all of this for us and putting yourself out there knowing that you’re going to be criticized. We need more leaders today who aren’t afraid of trying something new in order to reach further for the Kingdom. I think that’s why Jesus said “Go” not “stay.”

    Trying to figure out what that looks like in our context. Blessings to you and your family my friend.

    • Tony on January 18, 2018 at 7:44 am

      Jesus said “Go…!” Good stuff

  20. Jo Ann on January 15, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    One quibble: In the final point, you say “You may not have a great band . . .” Not all churches have or even want a band, great or not. Some of us have great or no-so-great choirs. Please be more inclusive of “traditional” churches.

  21. Mike on January 15, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Great article, Carey.

    What would I change? Okay, just remember… you asked. 🙂

    The church is broken. Seriously broken. Jesus said the greatest command is to love. He also said his followers would be known by their love.

    Churches are not full of love. They are full of dogma. They exist with the paradigm that church-goers have it right and the unchurched have it wrong. Even if not consciously done, everything about the modern church sends the message “we are better than you.” And no one wants to be judged like that.

    The internet gives us almost limitless access to information. People can now look up alternate viewpoints on any subject, including matters of faith, theology and philosophy. If churches only exist to support a set of dogmatic beliefs they deem true they will find themselves dying off. The millennial generation is very comfortable asking “why” and pushing back on blind faith that doesn’t make sense in the physical, here-and-now world.

    The church and especially pastors need to look themselves in the mirror and ask some very hard questions:
    – Why am I doing what I’m doing?
    – Why do I want to be in relationship with the unchurched?
    – Why do I want people to sit and listen to me?
    – Have I ever tried to hear what I sound like to people that are outside my tribe?

    This probably sounds harsh. Sorry for that. It’s the reality that I see today as one of the de-churched.

    • Ian on December 20, 2018 at 11:53 am

      “They exist with the paradigm that church-goers have it right and the unchurched have it wrong.” Yes that’s a common attitude even though it contradicts the meaning of being a “ministry”. It’s all on church leaders & members (like me) to not just pay lip service to their churches being a “hospital for sinners” but to make sure their ministries truly are environments for healing, caring and guidance.

    • Anne Smith on March 2, 2021 at 11:02 am

      So true. A lot of the time preachers are performing from the pulpit rather than talking like a friend. And as a lifelong Presbyterian and elder , I find I disagree more and more with what the tenets of Christianity are meant to be. Young people nowadays won’t stick it out if they visit a church and only hear “the party line” without realizing there are lots of people in the church who are silently disagreeing with, for example, bits of the Confessions or the Nicene Creed…

  22. Harris Clark on January 15, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    I just found out about your ministry through another pastor friend of mine. Since I have been following your ministry, I have been truly blessed and enlightened. I pray that God will continue to download you with the secret and hidden things as he is already doing.
    Love you to Life!!

  23. PostLambJam on January 15, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    My personal philosophy is wherever the Holy Spirit is, they will come. If people put more effort into seeking God, praying in tongues, and identifying and using their spiritual gifts, they might be surprised at how the “supernatural” compels people to come. These “formulas” work on a limited superficial level, but the Word says “it is the Spirit that draws them”. Let’s get back to our first Love and take tender care of our communities. 😘

  24. Dave Hyatt on January 15, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Challenging and insightful thoughts Carey. One twist in completely downloadable content that occurred to me is that you don’t want your ‘Sunday morning’ service to be completely contained there either. What I mean is, if it doesn’t have some carry over into the week, through application, follow on content, etc., it will be like be one and done. We can do better!

  25. Grant on January 15, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Can you give an example of a church under 100 (which is most churches) going deep digitally in an excellent manner? Thanks!

  26. CML on January 15, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    I get great strategies, ideas and information from your blogs but often find serious typos. Today there is a blatant error that completely changes the meaning of one of your main points; one which has been also highlighted for tweeting. The phrase
    “Just because you can’t be great at everything, doesn’t mean you can be great at anything” I believe was intended to be …doesn’t mean you “can’t” be great at anything. Hopefully not many people tweeted the original phrase with the typo.

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