First I am not Catholic.
The churches I go to are crowded, many going to multiple services.
They tend to be very basic Bible driven, lively music and powerful messages.
The messages do not worry about offending people (sometimes the Word of God offens the sinner).
Much more like what you might imagine the early Christian churches were like.
The Church is not a building or a title it is the people who belong to the Body of Christ.
I think many older groups have lost that vision.
Likewise with my Catholic Church. We have four Masses. One Saturday evening — not so full.
Sunday monring at 8:15 and 10:30 and the Spanish Mass at 12:30 — all bursting at the seams.
Powerful messages based on the Bible is what we get. And the numbers prove it.
In fact our Capital Campaign to build a new Church has not been going on that long, and we have alomost reached the point when we can obtain a loan from the Archdiocese and start the building — I think their goal is the first part of October.
The present building will be turned into classrooms or completely re-designed.
I agree. The early assemblies consisted of people who were believers and they came together to worship, to pray together, to share what they had with the needy, fellowship, encourage and break bread together in the remembrance that they made up the "body of Christ". These believers went out and lead other people to saving faith in Christ and brought them to the assembly so they could, in turn, grow in their faith together and learn how to lead more people to Christ. I think too many church people forget that it is their job, and not just the pastor and elders, to go out and speak the gospel to everyone they meet. Today, people invite their neighbors and friends to "church" hoping they will get saved and, though that certainly does happen, it works far better if the visitor already knows the gospel.
I've been to some churches where all they ever preach about is the gospel, as if they think nobody is saved yet or nothing else is important. They give an "invitation" at the end and nobody comes forward because everyone there is already a believer. That says to me that the pastor may be lazy or doesn't care that the believers need more than just the "milk" of the word - they need the "meat", too. I know it must be hard being a pastor, one I had (one of the BEST) had a full time job in addition to being pastor. But I think a man of God that is put there by God has an obligation to be sensitive to the needs of his congregation and to never be afraid to say what God is leading him to say after much prayer and study. When that man is saying what God is leading him to say, the people WILL hear it and receive it because God has been preparing them as well. THAT kind of church is what keeps on growing.
I am Catholic
The Parish I go to is crowded, many going to daily Mass. (there’s two every day and six on the weekends)
They masses are Bible driven, with Holy music and powerful messages.
Our Priests don’t worry about offending people (we even had one tell us that if we didn’t stand up for Christ, we would be saying “Allah Akbar”)
Thank God we don’t have to worry about what the early Church did, but with Slovak priests, they know the evils of communism and teach us to appreciate our freedoms.
Our parish is bursting. We just bought another building after completing our last expansion only 4 years ago. You’re right svcw, the church is not a building, and it takes the congregation hearing the truth of sin to know that there is redemption. It’s not a party and it’s not all Social Justice, which is the focus in many churches today. What can I do for someone to make me feel better instead of what can I do to make myself right with Our Lord. The collective salvation churches of any stripe are bad news. In many churches and parishes, that is what they are teaching.