A recent study by Canadian researchers has found that churches with positive growth rates have at least two things in common: they implement modern styles of worship and they stick to a literal interpretation of Scripture.
According to The Christian Post, the study, titled “Theology Matters: Comparing the Traits of Growing and Declining Mainline Protestant Church Attendees and Clergy,” surveyed 2,225 churchgoers in Ontario, Canada, and interviewed 29 clergy members and 195 church attendees.
A number of pastors praised the study, saying it confirms what many Christians already know--that theology matters.
"This study was important because it quantified empirically something that evangelical renewalists have been saying for decades — theology matters," said the Rev. Tom Lambrecht, vice president and general manager of Good News Magazine, a United Methodist publication, in an interview with The Christian Post.
Pastor John Daffern of MTV Church, a Southern Baptist congregation in Columbus, Mississippi, agreed.
"We are theologically conservative, according to that study, and yet we are unashamedly modern and we are in a sustained period of growth in our church, and that is in direct contrast to many of the Mainline churches and even some evangelical churches.”
"And I think the wisdom of that study is the two parts,” Daffern continued. “There does need to be a modern sense of an expression of the faith while at the same time a conservative, Orthodox view of Christianity.”
In addition to a literal interpretation of Scripture and more modern worship services, the study also found that an emphasis on evangelism was key to church growth.
"One of the reasons that people are drawn to modern churches is because people don't want to be part of a monument." stated Daffern. "They want to be part of a movement. One of the greatest beauties of Christianity is that it is living and active."
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com'
Publication date: December 28, 2016