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Growing Churches: Religious Vitality in Canada

A recent National Post article examines Protestant mega-congregations in Canada. Broadway Church, in Vancouver Canada, shuffles 2,000 congregants through churches on a given Sunday. The large, auditorium-esq sanctuary, modern music, and casually-dressed pastor give attenders the sense of a new type of religious movement.

The article explains:

What the “megachurches” all seem to share is accessibility, be that through podcasts, modern websites or massive facilities equipped with ample parking, gymnasiums, commercial kitchens, candy shops, coffee bars and sprawling networks of prayer, childcare and meeting rooms.

“These churches offer, to put it bluntly, good reasons to bother going to church,” said John Stackhouse, a professor of theology at Vancouver’s Regent College, in an email to the National Post.

They have hobby groups, “problem-centred preaching,” easy-to-follow Bible study, and all of it made “extremely user-friendly,” said Mr. Stackhouse. “There’s no strange religious code-language to decipher [or be alienated by], no strange music to learn to like … not even strange clothes to wear,” he wrote.

In what ways are your religious communities “user-friendly?” Are worship and weekly meeting times well advertised? Do you have a regularly-updated community calendar? Are liturgical traditions explained to newcomers, or are regular traditions of the congregation examined and considered with the lens of a new attender? In what ways is it important that this church is more contemporary — can services that are highly liturgical and traditional become welcoming and user-friendly as well? In what ways does congregational culture affect how user-friendly a church is?

 

Ellen Childs
About the Author
Dr. Ellen Childs holds a Ph.D. in sociology from University of Notre Dame. She is Website Director at StudyingCongregations.org