Commercial Churches and competition

Hello,

I am a Catholic convert married to a Lutheran who does not practice her faith and doesn’t trust religion as a whole. I don’t feel she is necessarily hostile of religion or Christianity it is just that she was not given good catechesis as a child and not brought up in a home where it was a central part of life. I have been praying and doing my best to serve as a good example of the Christian and Catholic faith while trying to discover what the reasons for her un-belief or apathy towards church and religion is. Lately a short conversation we had revealed that she disdains the commercial aspect of churches competing for souls, always trying to outdo the competition down the street of another denomination or faith altogether. I understand her plight here and agree with her to an extent. I mentioned to her that I didn’t feel that churches should compete but should teach the faith without watering it down. That the faith should stand by itself and not depend on entertainment etc. to keep people in the pews. I said that the Catholic church doesn’t compete with other denoms because it is the original and true church etc. Then in part because I was going to the contemporary service that day, she asked why they have a contemporary service. I had to admit it appears as though the church is trying to stay “cool” by offering the contemporary services. I wanted to tell her that one of the reasons I became Catholic is my agreement with her, because the competition is a human tendency that has no place in the church and that if we were all One as Christ intended this objection wouldn’t exist. Also at one point she said " If someone wants to be a quaker or something whats the big deal, let them decide for themselves. A church shouldn’t be competing like a business to keep people" I believe she is cynical in thinking that some churches want to keep pews full to keep their coffers full as well. I would love to hear some of the forum member’s take on competition between churches and the mind of the Church in using new and different methods to keep Her pews full. Thank you and sorry for the long winded question.

One of the things I love about our church and the churches in our area is that we don’t compete against one another, but work as a team.

As for using “new and different methods”, we just preach the Gospel. We don’t have a rock band or CCM or contemporary, man-centered worship.

We have one piano player and sing hymns out of actually, honest to goodness hymnals, not powerpoint.

One of the things we’re doing (and this isn’t a doctrinal thing or part of the worship services…just for fun) is that several of us who grew up with the great old “shape note” singing are introducing that to people in our church. We haven’t introduced it into the worship service and probably won’t, but it’s a wonderful way not only to impart Biblical truths through music, but also a bonding exercise among the people in the church.

This would be a legacy from the Protestant Reformation. Once the unity of Christ’s Church was shattered, there is nothing keeping people from further shattering it to make religion in their own image.

I understand her plight here and agree with her to an extent.

Me, too. That’s why I’m Catholic.

Then in part because I was going to the contemporary service that day, she asked why they have a contemporary service. I had to admit it appears as though the church is trying to stay “cool” by offering the contemporary services.

The Mass is the Mass is the Mass. Does she think that because Mass is offered in Spanish that is somehow alters the Truth? Does she think that because Mass is offered in Latin it alters the Truth? Does she think that because one Mass setting may feature the organ, while another features guitars, it alters the Truth? Does she think that Truth is so fragile that it is somehow harmed by being shared in different languages and settings? The Mass doesn’t change. The trappings might, but that simply reinforces the universality of the Mass- it is equally for young, old, English-speaking, Spanish-speaking, etc. etc.

Also at one point she said " If someone wants to be a quaker or something whats the big deal, let them decide for themselves. A church shouldn’t be competing like a business to keep people" I believe she is cynical in thinking that some churches want to keep pews full to keep their coffers full as well. I would love to hear some of the forum member’s take on competition between churches and the mind of the Church in using new and different methods to keep Her pews full. Thank you and sorry for the long winded question.

What, then, does she think a religion SHOULD do? She seems awfully sure about what it SHOULDN’T do, but what it the responsibility of religion? That’s what I’d ask her next. If someone creates a vacuum of what a church shouldn’t do, and doesn’t fill it with something, then cynicism, mistrust, and hostility will rush to fill that void.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.