I think I own at least seven books that all discuss how church should be done or how it needs to change to fulfill it's true purpose and I'm sure there are more on the shelves of the local Christian bookstore. Most of them are probably of the same general opinion, that postmoderns can sniff out fakeness - a big stage, flashy lights, and a decent band are not the way to reach people. I agree with pretty much all of what these books have to say on that point, but recently it has made me think about how church is done in different denominations, because it seems like these books are largely directed toward a more non-denominational church.
I grew up in and still attend a Lutheran church, which provides a traditional and a "contemporary" worship service on Sunday mornings. I put contemporary in quotations because the service is essentially traditional with new Christian music instead of playing psalms from an organ. Don't get me wrong, I love this church and the people in it, but it might actually kill them if they tried to make major change in how they do church. In our reading from AND there were short excerpts from emails to Hugh from people (I'm assuming from churches or faith communities) asking about the necessity of having church gatherings and all I could think of while reading them was, "Wow, all the little Norwegian grandmas at my church would probably riot if we only had service once a month, I mean, when would we have potlucks??"
All joking aside, thinking about this has raised some questions for me. How could change be implemented at my church, and others like it, for them to become about having a "mission first and church second"? It almost seems to be more difficult to make this switch in an old, well established church than a new church plant. Does a church like this have to start over completely? Can a church be "mission first and church second" and still uphold it's old, beloved traditions?