Many Ways of Doing Church

August 29, 2005 by

You know what I love about the church? There’s no one right way of doing it. No where in the Bible do we find an order of service telling us how to conduct church. No where does it say how long the sermon has to be, or even that there has to be a sermon. It never says whether we have to sing traditional or contemporary music. It doesn’t mandate a specific version of the Bible to read outloud. We’re never told what our building should look like or whether we should sit in a circle or sit in rows, sit in pews or sit on the floor.

There’s no single right way of doing church. There may be some wrong ways and some bad ideas, but when it comes to doing it right you can have a lot of different solutions.

And the same goes for marketing. The right answer doesn’t always look the same. You’ll find ideas and methods and principles that are the same, but the final product can be radically diverse. The cookie-cutter approach isn’t recommended.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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5 Responses to “Many Ways of Doing Church”

  • Are Karlsen
    August 30, 2005

    Thanks! Multitude is needed. Today we have almost only “corporate churches” that is very similar in structure and content. I love to see house churches and emerging churches growing. It´s just too few, but it is coming.

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  • Brent Davis
    September 3, 2005

    I think I understand what you are getting at here, but I also want to challenge your statement that the Bible is silent on “how to conduct church”. Passages come to mind like 1 Corinthians 11:3-15 on dealing with the conduct of men and women in church gatherings (emphasis on v. 16). Verses 17-34 deal specifically with the manner in which a church is to observe the Lord’s Supper (emphasis on v. 33). 1 Corinthians 14:1-25 deal specifically with the use of the gift of tongues and the gift of prophecy in church meetings. Verses 26-40 deal specifically in conducting an orderly church gathering. Colossians 3:16 sheds light on the content of Church gatherings.
    Actually, the Bible has a lot to say about “how to conduct church meetings”, the problem is the modern, institutionalized church rarely considers what the Bible has to say about church practice. Most of the issues that you address on the website would simply disappear if today’s church practiced the prescriptions of the Apostles when it came to church gatherings. Jesus and the Apostles never prescribed what passes for church today. They prescribed small gatherings of believers meeting homes, observing the Lord’s Supper and practicing their new found priesthood in Christ. The only large gatherings were conducted for evangelism, not church edification. The practice of the modern church is foreign to the New Testament (Pulpits, choirs, bands, programs, buildings, preachers, hierarchical leadership, denominations just to name a few things).

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  • Walt Hoffman
    February 27, 2006

    To Brent Davis re. Kevin,
    Much agreement with what Brent Davis said here. My late response is due to being out of communication, writing a book.
    My personal experience living through the scriptures he cited affirms what Brent has said. I have found much interest in returning church life to the simplicity of the early church. Thus, I’ve been encouraged to tell that it has been done, and can still be done. That’s why I’m writing the book, “Doing Church.”
    This is a true story of how Jesus built a 20th century local church. He began with an initial conversion, like Peter’s in Matthew 16. Added, were mostly young people who wanted nothing to do with the institutional way of doing church.
    It started as a Bible Study, verse by verse through the whole counsel of God. Eventually, though they resisted the idea, this disaffected group saw in the Word, that they had indeed, become a church. The Biblical pattern of the early church was followed without conforming to the complexity of traditional or contemporary church practices.
    The book has been three years in process, requiring research into the present of those who lived it some thirty years ago. The final chapter relates the careers and spiritual impact of the once “rebels” who came to enjoy simplicity in their authentic church life.

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  • paul
    November 20, 2006

    Great site! While I agree in some sense with Kevin’s sentiments, I’m afraid I’ll have to add my Amen to what Walt and Brent have to say.

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  • Dave Huston
    June 11, 2009

    Iam planting a house church(es) in the Calabash, NC and N.Myrtle Beach, SC area August 2009. I am a SBC minister and I know this quite radical difference. The older book “the Body” by Ray Stedman has helped with my vision of ministry.

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