Colin Sedgwick is the pastor of Lindsay Park Baptist Church in Kenton, Middlesex and wrote a column for the Guardian suggesting how churches can reverse the decline in attendance. He suggests we simply learn from the churches that are growing and see what works.
So what works?
- Bible-based preaching that has a challenging message (“It is better to be offended than bored”).
- Prayer is central to the life of the church.
- Engaging the neighborhood with social activities. “They are not so arrogant as to assume they have a divine right to exist.”
- Main services are geared so an outsider can easily understand what’s going on: when to sit, when to stand, whether or not to take communion, etc.
- Children and teens are taken seriously.
- Musical diversity reigns: old school hymns and modern worship songs side by side.
- There’s no dress code. Suit and tie or sandals and shorts, doesn’t matter.
To sum it up, “churches that buck the trend see themselves as communities, or families, not simply as buildings where people gather for an hour and then leave to go back into ‘normal’ life. God is taken seriously but not solemnly; worshippers are participants, not spectators; there is silence, but also noise and laughter; there is structure, but also informality.”
I could have quoted the whole thing, and probably should have, so read it for yourself—it’s a quick read. (link via CT’s weblog)