This is the last installment of 13 different types of churches that are listed in Ed Stetzer's book, "Comeback Churches." Below are the last three. Again, these descriptions come directly from Ed's book, and I'd encourage you to buy a copy and read it.
I'd like to echo what Ed says; "The wrong question is whether your church is "traditional" or "contemporary" and which is better. The real issue is whether your church is biblically faithful, acting as the presence of Christ in the community at large, able to relate Christ to people in culture, and is on mission to reach the lost." I couldn't agree more! There are so many structures and formulas for doing church, traditional, contemporary, pragmatic, transformissional, etc; that we can get so consumed with the "style" that we lose focus on the "purpose."
My hope in posting these from his book is simply to inspire the reading of the book and a healthy self examination of your church. That's the starting point to any healthy change---to confront the reality and lead accordingly by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
If you haven't read the previous post, you can catch up by clicking the below links.
13 Churches Part 1
13 Churches Part 2
13 Churches Part 3
and now here is the final installment. Enjoy!
Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen
"Chaplaincy" Church. The church hired it's minister (and even staff) and expects the "chaplain" to be busy about meeting the needs and making the church grow. It's not uncommon to hear a statement like, "Preacher, you need to visit Mrs. Gray. She hasn't been feeling well." The members identify the needs and the prospects and expect their pastor to respond. After all, they haven't been to seminary, and that's what he's being paid to do. Despite the fact that the church's ministry impact is limited to the staff's time and abilities, the church body remains committed to an employer/employee model. They want a hired "chaplain," not a leader.
The "Company" Church. This church is more focused on what is handed down from the denomination that how to reach it's community. One after another, the denominational calendar and programs come and the local church seeks to apply them (not realizing that most denominational departments crank out programs like a Ford in the 1970's---too many and not well thought out). So, while denominational departments produce competing materials without communicating with other, the "Company Church" faithfully seeks to staff every one--while pretty much ignoring it's community.
"Play It Safe" Church. Here, there's little faith that God will provide. Rather than enabling ministry and evangelism, it hinders them. The church want's to protect what it has. As much money as possible is placed in a certificate of deposit. But no plan is made to use it to reach others for Christ. It's a safety net that's guarded carefully. Members have little incentive to give. This leads the treasurer and finance committee to conclude that they were wise to protect the "nest egg."
You could probably think of many more, but they all have in common one thing. They have lost the passion for making disciples and the focus of God's glory in His church. Yet, identification is easy. Change is hard.
There are many factors that can contribute to a church decline and even death. One thing we must not forget is the very real and very spiritual nature of church growth.
One reason a church may experience decline is because Jesus is displeased with the way the church has handled past challenges. Another is that the church may have been disobedient at a crucial point. If we believe we are to be "Spirit led" and our churches should be too, then we can't ignore key principles like, "reap what you sow" and "faithful with the small." Repentance may be a spiritual issue, but in many cases it's also a pressing need.