Since most 1970s churches are unaware anything is wrong, here are a few signs to watch for.
1. Church leaders answer questions no one is asking. For example, should churches use the piano, the guitar or sing acapella? What’s the proper attire for Sunday morning worship? You know who cares about these questions? 1970s churches. Everyone else is discussing things that matter.
2. Most conversations include some reference to “the way things used to be.” “If we could just become the church we were 20 years ago? Man, those were the good ole days.” Instead of focusing on future opportunities, these churches relive past experiences.
3. There are very few Millennials in the church. The average age is 69.35. One or two people occasionally babysit their grandkids. That’s where the .35 comes from.
4. The word “change” lives in the same house with certain four-letter words. You know, the ones that would cause mom to wash your mouth out with soap? A slow death is viewed as a badge of honor. “We might not be growing, but at least we’re not sacrificing ‘the truth of the Scriptures’ like those hippie churches. They’re just trying to entertain people.”
5. Everyone speaks in a foreign language. Not like Spanish. Like Christianese. Words like “transubstantiation” and “hedge of protection” are used often.
The church must strive to remain relevant. This includes altering the context of the message, but not the content of it. This means studying culture for the purpose of reaching it. This means updating the building. It means getting out of the building. And it means speaking in a language the current culture can understand.
Jesus isn’t impressed with a 1970s church. He’s saddened by it. And unless these churches make some renovations, they will eventually be empty.
3) Who did Jesus die for? Not the business-driven church.
Plain and simple, the church is NOT a business. Does the church have business-like layers? Absolutely. Even Jesus had a treasurer.
But the church isn’t primarily a business. Here are a few signs your church is run like a business.
1. Other churches are competition. Motivation for changing a worship style, ministry philosophies, etc. is driven by changes from churches around them.
2. Success is primarily measured using numbers. What was the attendance in worship? Is the budget trending up or down? If numbers are up, things are moving in the right direction.