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Matt Souza
Matt Souza

What Happened to my Church?


It seems that in the last 30 or so years our churches have taken on a whole new look and atmosphere. As these changes were being made to attract more people to church, more and more people are having a hard time finding a church to call home?

Recently, I attended a the Baptist Church that I grew up in. While growing up, this church was a very conservative church. Never would they have entertained the thought of having anything other than a piano or organ on the stage. Upon this visit, I noticed that everything has changed the last 30 years. No longer did the church look like a place of worship, but rather an entertainment center. Ironically, the crowds were smaller now than 30 years ago.

So what happened to my church? As I reflect back, I now see some signs that was there that started the shift of entertainment rather than worship. What has divided the church?

It seems that is almost always starts with music. Not many churches minds some guitars to help accomplay the music, but not too long ago ear plugs were being handed out as one enters the into some church sanctuaries.  

Some churches now open with a secular song, dim the lights, add in fog machines, and have an atmosphere that represents a local rock concert. All of this is to enhance repetitive choruses that will be sung over and over by church members that seem hypnotized.

In an effort to attract unchurched people, the “Seeker Sensitive” movement suggested that churches should cater to the comforts of the “seeker”.  Bill Hybels admitted that he came up with the term but later confessed it didn't work.

Hybels states: “We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their bible between services, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.”

The founder of the “Seeker Sensitive” movement now states that he should have taught people to read their Bibles and take responsibility for their own spiritual walk. This church that I grew up in, used to teach me how to read the Bible on my own.

Acts 2:42 “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

When this misic shift took place, Some churches catered to the older crowd with an early a.m. traditional service for those with gray heads. That trend began "the great divide" between generations.

Preachers started preaching only about love and tolerance. Everything and everyone must be accepted. Sin must be accepted. People loved having their ears tickled. The goal was to leave church with that "feel good" feeling and have their self-esteem built up. Sound doctrine was being set aside and ignored.

Issues like marriage, abortion, and hell apparently divide so the preaching ceased on those things, although rock music in the church apparently was not a dividing issue.

Having said all of that, the gates of hell are trying like crazy to penetrate the church,change its message, change its purpose, and to distort the gospel.

Matthew 16:18 “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

If anyone else has seen that music has changed your church, please let us know and comment below.

What happened to your church?

Edited by Matt Souza

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That’s exactly what happened to my old church. I’d left the area for about 15 years when I returned my old church was replaced by black curtains so it was dark as night in there. Rock concert music, fog machines and singers in mini skirts rocking out with a pastor with punk hair and ripped jeans. I still attended because they had a great youth pastor, who was in his forties and my daughter loved going to all the activities. Then the pastor decided the youth pastor  wasnt as hip and cool as he wanted the new image of the church to be and fired him. That caused a split from the older core members from the young crowd. We and a lot of the older crowd left. Discouraged by church politics I didn’t go for a few years until I went to my church now. The church I left has been plagued with infidelity rumors about new pastors and singing directors and the young girls singing on stage. But it remains the same rock concert appealing to the flesh and lust of lost sheep.

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Guest spdowney


I visited my old home church a couple of years ago, and left after the close with a tear in my eye.

in the 60s the church was running around 250 and had a pretty vibrant youth group. After a lot of thought, prayer and planning, we approached the deacons wanting to start a bus ministry. Well, after 6 months we had a lot of both kids and seniors riding in on three busses. There were a few families that joined the congregation thru the ministry. It was successful. Except....

About two years into it the deacons decided there were some problems. First, the ministry was costing. It seemed the children weren’t giving enough. And secondly, since few of the kids had ever been in a church, they misbehaved, they were, in many instances unkept and smelly, and they were disruptive. 

So, wham, the bus ministry was terminated. And it seemed the entire church began to slide downwards. A few families left because the deacons seemed to have lost sight of a church’s mission. Many of the youth group moved on to other churches for the same reason. Attendance dropped, and dropped, and dropped.

Asfer high school I left as well, to join another church that had taken up the “bus” mantle, and was fully committed to going out to the highways and hedges. 

My home church began renting out space to pay the bills. A Montessori school rented the fellowship hall. Some small businesses rented the Main St building. And a variety of evening meetings like AA, Yoga and others would rent space on a weekly basis. Evening services were abandoned. Sunday school was dropped in favor of home groups, which shrank to nothing. Today you can “have coffee with the pastor” on Tuesday and Thursday.

my last visit was in a once full auditorium that sat 600, with about 30 in attendance. The worship team played their instrument and sang songs no one knew..... a performance called “worship time”. The sermonette was spoken by a pastor who seemed to have long lost his enthusiasm. I believe the church was dead, but no one had buried it yet.

My home church died in the 60s when they counted poor children unworthy to dirty the carpets. They had left their first love. They were neither hot nor cold, and Almighty God had spewed them out of His mouth.

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Sad article and testimonies.

But it does go to show how each generation in a church - each family and individual - needs to be faithful and walk with the Lord today, not just rest where they or their church once stood.

There is no coasting in the Christian life - not for an individual, and not for the church they are part of.

Coasting is like sitting on the fence when temptation to compromise comes your way. I think it was my webpartner, Angela Trenholm, who once said, “The Devil owns the fence,” and I know the fence is greased! It is a slippery slope, for sure.

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My old church in San Diego, fortunately, hasn't gone through this, though I've seen they are starting to use some contemporary music, carefully recrafted to a more conservative sound. Unfortunately, this is often the first step down. Once the current pastor, who is holding things together, passes, the trip down will be much quicker.

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