USA Today focused on several very casual churches this week, some meeting in gyms and schools, some in warehouses and strip malls, most featuring casual clothing and one featuring a tattoo parlor. It’s all part of a growing trend to remove the barriers from the average church visitor for those who aren’t keen on the traditional church environs.
“I think the trappings of traditional religion can make it difficult for people to start coming,” says Ron Williams, pastor of Church at the GYM in Florida. “You can invite someone and they will say, ‘I don’t have any clothes to wear to church.'” Williams himself wears jeans in the pulpit, saying all clothing types are welcome, including shorts and biker gear.
The article also quoted Aaron Coe of the North American Missions Board saying this casual trend represents a step away from “traditionalism and the economic advantages of leasing a space instead of building a church.”
Supporters of these casual churches say a segment of the population—the under 40s—would be lost without them. Pastor Steve Bentley, who opened a tattoo parlor in his Flint, Michigan church, said relevance is key, “breaking with tradition but not breaking with Scripture.”
What do you think of the movement toward more casual church settings? Give your comments below.