Let’s talk about different styles of church in America today:
I will list three for our consideration. None of them in and of themselves are wrong. They all have strengths and weaknesses, areas of effectiveness and efficiency and areas of ineffectiveness and inefficiency. Below I’ve listed them and their typical characteristics:
All churches are driven by something. In much the same way that computers operate through a programming structure and specific programs designed to function in this structure, churches have an operating platform or programming system that makes them work as well. This system constitutes the way they get things done. It’s a primary focus.
- Event Driven Church
- Generally Leadership Personality focused
- Usually led by dynamic Speaker(s)
- Normally heavy on religious structure and culture
- Performance driven (Know how to do good church)
- Experience oriented (main success metric was someone’s experience)
- Normally strong in evangelism, but weak in discipleship
- Low volunteer engagement / high leadership burnout rates
- Key Word: Experience
- Normal growth potential 0-1,000
- Program Driven Church
- General Leadership must: (administrative Gift)
- Programs drive their culture and their gravity in the community
- Offer strong programs that are normally targeted at specific demographics like man, women, children and youth, etc. They can also be oriented to deal with issues like drug and alcohol addiction, divorce, parenting etc.
- Most services are less about experience and more about requiting for ministry programs. Sunday is a sort of showroom where programs are sold.
- Success metric is normally based on levels of participation in programs
- A weakness is the lack collective purpose in the organization. You can participate in three or four programs and not necessarily grow as a believer.
- Heavy on activity not always strong in discipleship.
- Key Word: Participate
- Process Driven Church
- Everyone is encouraged to be in the process of discipleship and service
- Volunteers and serving are critical in the process
- Engagement and activation of believers is the focus
- Personal development and growth of the person is the goal
- Similar to program driven church
- Every program has a developmental component
- Normally there is a path that facilitates the process (like growth track)
- Key Word: Development (Discipleship)
I believe that great church have some elements of all three.
What are some qualities of each that are appealing to you?