Today: 01 November 2014
 
 

  

Different styles of church  

Talk to anyone ‘in the know’ about churches in your town, and you'll find there is no such thing as a typical church.

You'll be told that one is ‘happy-clappy’, another is ‘middle-of-the-road’, another is ‘high’, another is ‘low’, and yet another is ‘all bells and smells’!

What appeals to one worshipper may not
appeal to another

Churches can be different denominations (Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, etc) but they also vary enormously in style. Some meet in old buildings, others in new ones; some in schools and some in homes. Some are old, some are young; some have thousands of members, some just a few. Churches are like people—they come in all shapes and sizes, all different colours, and with many different preferences.

This is a great thing! It is right that the church should reflect the variety of the Creator who made us all so different.

It can be confusing, though, so here are some of the differences that you will notice:

  • Quiet or noisy: all churches have some of both, but some are much more focused on joyful celebration and thanksgiving, while others express more of the reverence that is part of worshipping such an awesome God.
  • Ritual or freedom: Some churches try to create a fresh expression of worship each time they meet, wanting to meet God in a new way, while others delight in the more formal traditions of worship that often focus around holy communion. Some churches are more open to God doing supernatural things than others.
  • Teaching or reflection: some congregations concentrate on study and learning through the Bible, with a simple service surrounding a lengthy and deep exploration of a text or a theme, while others try to draw the worshiper into reflecting on a theme or passage as part of a rich set pattern of worship.
  • Modern or traditional: there is a vast range of Christian music available, and you will find that churches vary wildly from the exclusive use of the organ through to bands that sound like pop groups. There may or may not be traditions about what people wear, and various other things may be taken more or less seriously
  • ‘Open’ or ‘closed’: some churches see themselves as a community which does not need anyone else to join; other churches are set up to welcome newcomers. The same goes for children—they will be welcomed in some places, and an irritation in others.
  • Fresh expression or traditional church: recently there has been a move called ‘fresh expressions,’ which is encouraging Christians to think of new ways of being church to people who are not touched by traditional methods. These (like Church on the Net) come in all shapes and sizes!

Don’t give up if you pluck up the courage to try a particular church and really don’t like it. Many Christians would agree with you! Just keep looking—and don’t be afraid to ask any church to recommend one more to your linking.

The important thing is that you find a church which teaches you about Jesus and how to follow him today; each Christian church is part of the body of Christ.


Explore this subject in more depth

Pray: Lord, If I'm going to go to a church, I'd need to find one that offers me a warm welcome, helps me to grow in my faith, and brings me friendship and fellowship. You know me inside-out: you'll know where is best for me, even if you want me to make some compromises! Please show me where that is. Amen.

 


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