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Author Topic: Evangelicals overtaking mainstream denominations  (Read 14131 times)
becomingshaman
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« Reply #30: November 14, 2010, 03:02:56 am »

We've mentioned from time to time that membership in traditional, mainstream churches has consistently dropped.  In contrast, Evangelical church membership has grown substantially (in some places giving rise to the "mega-church" phenomenon).  I was curious as to why you folks think this is true.  What do the Evangelical churches have that traditional churches do not? 

Sperran

Evangelicalism is my birth water...I even went to Bible College...and then, as an adult, I was a pastor's wife in an evangelical church for a long time.  These are my thoughts in answer to the original question (most of which agree with what others have shared already):

1).  Good Feelings:  Out of the options, the Evangelical church most closely mimics the surrounding culture in terms of being entertainment-driven.  As others have said, the typical mega-church is big on entertainment, which is an instant appeal to feeling/emotion.  The music is usually very contemporary, etc, and the entire church service is designed to provoke a good *feeling* in you. 

2.)  Quick and Easy Answers to Hard Questions: It's also not complicated: there's good and there's bad, right and wrong, left or right.  (Ie, republican = good, democrat = bad).  Not a lot of complexity allowed, which makes the congregation feel like the world is a safe place, that the church provides answers, and that they don't have to worry about muddled shades of grey or other complicated thoughts.  Got a problem?  Just listen to your church leaders (or favorite evangelical books) and follow the formula they proscribe.  (And hope to God that it's not a complicated or complex problem, or not only will you NOT find an answer there, but you might get yourself drummed right out of the camp). 

3.) Gives Me Purpose:  Lastly, it's full of mission, purpose, zeal and vision.  That makes people feel alive.  There's a purpose to everything (to win souls, to take the world for Christ, or whatever the church's particular slant on the vision is).  People love having a purpose.  The zealousness of evangelicalism provides them with that, which adds to the feel-good emotions. 



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« Reply #31: November 14, 2010, 09:59:29 am »

  Got a problem?  Just listen to your church leaders (or favorite evangelical books) and follow the formula they proscribe.  (And hope to God that it's not a complicated or complex problem, or not only will you NOT find an answer there, but you might get yourself drummed right out of the camp). 


And this is exactly why I can not be in the Christian church.
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« Reply #32: November 14, 2010, 10:03:48 am »

And this is exactly why I can not be in the Christian church.

To be fair, not all Christian churches are like the ones being described. I've had excellent interactions with Presbyterian ministers, both of whom knew I was not Christian and did not attempt to convert me. (One of them is actually fascinated by my Paganism/Unitarian Universalism and I meet with him regularly when I'm home from college). Quakers are also a cool and accepting bunch. And of course, there will always be individuals, even within the most questionable of congregations, who are good, loving, compassionate people - but hopefully that goes without saying. Wink
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« Reply #33: November 14, 2010, 10:42:13 am »

To be fair, not all Christian churches are like the ones being described. I've had excellent interactions with Presbyterian ministers, both of whom knew I was not Christian and did not attempt to convert me. (One of them is actually fascinated by my Paganism/Unitarian Universalism and I meet with him regularly when I'm home from college). Quakers are also a cool and accepting bunch. And of course, there will always be individuals, even within the most questionable of congregations, who are good, loving, compassionate people - but hopefully that goes without saying. Wink

Having three ministers in the family I have met many, many people through the years that are on all levels of Christianity.  Brand new converts to those that have been in ministry for 50+ years.  There are always the 'wolves in sheep's clothing' no matter the religious belief and I don't think that Christians as a whole, Christianity in general or, especially, the Christian God should be judged by those few.  Most have good hearts and good intentions.  My comment was a strictly a personal opinion that came from some very personal experiences.  I hit a hard spot and had some hard questions that needed to be answered and everyone dropped me.  My own aunt wouldn't return my phone calls.  Even God just stopped talking to me.  So that particular comment really resonated with me.  My apologies if it seemed a blanket statement in some way.  That was not my intent.  And with MY family ... you don't go to a different church if you live close enough to go to the one THEY have deemed 'right'.  If you do, you are dogged about it.  I miss my Mom and my Grandpa but otherwise I am sooo thankful and relieved to be living 250 miles away from the center of my family!
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« Reply #34: November 14, 2010, 12:13:36 pm »

To be fair, not all Christian churches are like the ones being described. I've had excellent interactions with Presbyterian ministers, both of whom knew I was not Christian and did not attempt to convert me. (One of them is actually fascinated by my Paganism/Unitarian Universalism and I meet with him regularly when I'm home from college). Quakers are also a cool and accepting bunch. And of course, there will always be individuals, even within the most questionable of congregations, who are good, loving, compassionate people - but hopefully that goes without saying. Wink

I completely agree with all of the above.  For me, I found an amazing and supportive group within the Episcopalian church.  Actually, I'm still a part of them...it's a safe place to be while you sort things out (they let you think and ask questions).  The liberal Christian churches are very very different from the typical evangelical ones.  

But, if you grow up Evangelical, you will assume that most liberal christians aren't "true" Christians at all, because you are taught that the Evangelical version of the gospel is the "true" gospel.  Zoe Moonchild referenced this idea.   Sad  So the positive influence of the liberal churches on the Evangelical is slim to none.  
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« Reply #35: November 14, 2010, 12:54:33 pm »

But, if you grow up Evangelical, you will assume that most liberal christians aren't "true" Christians at all, because you are taught that the Evangelical version of the gospel is the "true" gospel.  Zoe Moonchild referenced this idea.   Sad  So the positive influence of the liberal churches on the Evangelical is slim to none.  


That is true within my family.  Liberal and Christian do NOT go together.  If you are a Christian then you are a conservative.  Period.  And as for going to other churches ... it's not that they aren't Christians too ... it's more that they don't have the 'whole truth' and therefore don't live in 'total freedom'.  Whatever that means to each person.  For a couple of years we attended a Baptist church and good grief did I hear about that!  Since they didn't actively pursue speaking in tongues (although the pastor didn't care if you did that) members of my family decided that wasn't a good church for my family, especially because we had young children at that time.  All of us loved the church, pastor and members though.  They were very open and loving.  I always tried to look at people's hearts more than the exact beliefs they followed.  Besides, I hated attending church with my family because if I missed a service then I had phone calls out the kazoo wanting to know WHERE I was, WHY wasn't I there and if it was something like, the baby was sick, then I got chewed out for not bringing them to church to be prayed for.  <sigh>  I do NOT do well being micro-managed and feeling like every time I'm around particular family members that I need to be on the defensive.  I've lived with that for 40 years and they don't understand why I go to family functions, stay an hour and leave.  Anyway ... sorry for the soapbox on my family.  lol  I have had some really good experiences with Christians outside of my family and their denomination.  At the age of 17 I found out one of my best friends was Catholic and I just loved his Mom to pieces.  It was one of my first real awakenings that my family wasn't right about everything to do with God and that they didn't have Jesus in a box.  All I can say is that it was a relief ...
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« Reply #36: March 19, 2011, 10:47:49 pm »

We've mentioned from time to time that membership in traditional, mainstream churches has consistently dropped.  In contrast, Evangelical church membership has grown substantially (in some places giving rise to the "mega-church" phenomenon).  I was curious as to why you folks think this is true.  What do the Evangelical churches have that traditional churches do not? 

Sperran

These churches have passion that does not exist with traditional churches.  Faith has three main things (among others) being making the world make sense, some sort of connection with a higher power, and for many, some sort of ethical guildlines.   

Evangelicals take the shortcut to try to ignore anything complex, and some are personality cults.   
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