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Innovate Traditionalism

That title alone is a contradiction, but I’m going to give it a shot. I want to offer my own two cent idea the “traditional” churches might want to consider so they can survive losing so many members to all these terrible “contemporary mega new age” churches that keep “taking people”. I’m not knocking all traditional churches. Just a lot of them. I’ll agree with wise folks I’ve heard say that there is a role for different types of churches for different types of people – as long as they’re reaching people for Christ. That second part of the sentence is what so many traditional churches are missing and therefore making “traditional” ineffective. But I wouldn’t want those people to not have a church at all, so I have a plan. It’s a simple plan and I think it will work. Here’s what to do:

Make a bold move to run off as many people as you can who are at risk of moving to a “contemporary” church. There are several ways to do this, here are a few of my suggestions:

  • Instead of just talking about people who don’t wear their “Sunday best” – go ahead and make it an official rule and stop people at the door who don’t conform.
  • Instead of teaching about sin – condemn the sinner. Take that a step further and make them sit in the back and don’t include them in anything, or even further stop them at the door.
  • Instead of encouraging hope through having a relationship with Christ – scare hell in to people so they have a constant sense of inadequacy because they can’t perform enough holy deeds to earn their way to heaven.
  • Instead of budgeting, sacrificing, being good stewards, and praying over the church finances – have a business meeting and complain about how no one is giving enough.
  • Also at the business meeting… Fight about important stuff like toilet paper and carpet color. Anyone who doesn’t attend the business meeting isn’t on board with the church vision and should be referred to a local “contemporary” church.

Have another business meeting with another church or churches who have made their own bold moves. This is where it gets innovative. This meeting might be with multiple churches who have all made bold moves. Now that both (all) churches at the meeting have decreased their numbers down to only the ones who want tradition it would be wise to make some drastic but wise decisions:

  • Which church building(s) is goint to be sold, abandoned, foreclosed, given to the homeless, donated to the fire department for training, etc etc?? That’s right. Consolidation is taking place. Everyone is going to have to embrace another church body for the sake of traditionalism survival.
  • Which church building is going to be kept. Hint – this would probably be the building that is hosting the meeting because everyone is at the meeting – right??
  • Which pastor(s) and staff are going to be kept? Fire all but one pastor or rotate multiple pastors? A cost analysis might be appropriate here. At first glance it might seem more than one pastor isn’t affordable, but without all those buildings to pay for it would be worth running the numbers to see. Of course their salaries could be reduced if they’re rotating or they could take turns preaching, leading singing, answering the phone, visiting hospital, mowing grass, etc to cover all the jobs each separate church building used to employ.
  • Make contingency plans for replacing the pastor(s). They’re going to die one day.
  • Just keep all the deacons at first because it will only be a few years before enough are dead to get the number of deacons back down to 12 or whatever.

In about 40 years start all over again with everything mentioned above. Why? Mortal attrition is going to bring the numbers back down to where another consolidation will be necessary.

  • What about multiplying from within? Ok, that might make it last more than 40 years but eventually little Sue isn’t going to want to marry her cousin Johnny. And marrying outside the church won’t work because outsiders might corrupt the traditionalism again. Besides there is no room in the consolidated building for an outsider. Maybe arranged marriages will work so the bloodlines can be kept far enough apart.
  • Don’t forget the bold moves. Probably should do those once or twice a year even if the multiply from within method is working – just to keep up and coming rebels flushed out.

That pretty much wraps it up for the most part. Without getting in to all the minor details this simple plan should work. 

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