Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Contemporary Church

Churches have filled many roles in the years they have been around. Down through the years the church as an institution, because it is made of people and serves people, has had a role in the community that tried to meet the needs of the people whom it served or wished to serve.

Luther nailed his 95 statements to the door of the church -  not because he was being insolent but because that is how information was disseminated. The church doors at that time were the old fashioned version of a bulletin board because one was sure to be reaching the vast majority of the community by doing so.

The church served as a community to those who were members of it's congregation. Grief and joy were shared among congregants. Solace was provided. Help in times of tragedy and trauma were available from the joint efforts of the members.

Entertainment also came by way of the church institution. Church socials of all ilks were offered and many times provided one of the few 'proper places' a young man could court someone who had caught his fancy. It certainly was the place to be if you wanted to impress a young lady's parents. In fact, the church also provided the setting to meet someone who was sure to be a potential ate your family was happy with.

The church setting provided a corporate setting for those of similar spiritual beliefs to worship. In doing so it provided a socially sanctioned way to teach succeeding generations a framework for life and a moral compass.

Spiritual leaders were available through the church even though not all churches had a full time minister. When the west was being settled many churches only had access to a minister on a rotating basis. The visit from the minister was eagerly anticipated and what was shared and interpreted via their holy book was interpreted by many as the basis for their own opinions about civil and political life choices.

Networking and business connections were nurtured not only on meeting day but throughout the week and via the social activities of the church.

How many of these social needs today are met in other ways on a more frequent basis? Cyber space allows people to talk to long lost classmates, friends and family on a daily basis. Support, understanding, and advice are all readily available from reliable sources. Business networking and hiring now can begin and end online.

What does this leave for the church of the 21st century to provide for it's adherents? Let's talk!

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