Visiting Churches

Discussion Questions for Church 56: A New Approach to Church

During 52 Churches, two churches planned to simultaneously shut down for a few months and then reopen as a new, merged entity. But it took much longer. At last we can visit.

I call this process a reboot. Others might call it a church launch. Regardless, it’s new approach to church.

Consider these seven discussion questions about Church 56 and their new approach to church.

1. The large parking lot has ample room. People mill about outside, including two greeters, bantering with all who pass. One opens the door for us.

What initial impression does our church make when people arrive?

2. I’ve been in this building before. Gone are the pews, organ, and formal elements. In their place are padded chairs and a contemporary altar. What once approached stodgy is now chic. Subdued lighting adds to the allure.

What is our sanctuary’s ambience? What should change?

3. Communion is open to “anyone who acknowledges Jesus Christ as the risen Savior.” Children are welcome to take part, too, as determined by their parents or caregivers.

How well does our church convey Communion expectations?

4. It’s Mother’s Day, and they distribute carnations to every female, “honoring all women.” This nicely avoids the risk of inadvertently disregarding those who desperately long to be moms but aren’t, can’t, or once were.

What changes should our churches make to be more inclusive?

5. The children come forward for a blessing. The pastor says, “Let’s talk to Jesus.” I appreciate his simple, kid-appropriate reminder of what prayer is.

What can we do to keep our faith practices fresh?

6. The minister says, “Giving is an act of worship.” As a teen I assumed this was a euphemism for “give us your money.” Now it clicks with me.

How can we better connect our giving with our worship?

7. Despite updates to the sanctuary, the service unfolds like most others. They merely house typical expectations in a new package.

Are our church’s attempts to be relevant mere show or significant?

Overall, I enjoyed their new approach to church and can learn much from it.

[Read about Church 56, Church 57, or start at the beginning of our journey.]

If you feel it’s time to move from the sidelines and get into the game, The More Than 52 Churches Workbook provides the plan to get you there.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.