Monday, March 31, 2008

Defining Terms: Conventional Congregation

I'm about to put up a slug of posts that often refer to "conventional congregations" so I thought it would be good to say what I mean by that.

I use conventional to refer to congregations that share the following four traits.

Property ownership, i.e. a sanctuary for worsip etc.

Pastors or clergy by other names, meaning people who are trained as professionals, typically with a post-graduate degree, and usually receive a significant salary as part of the congregation's budget.

Programs including Sunday School, Youth Groups, Bible studies etc. that people are encouraged to attend in addition to Sunday worship.

Presentational Worship - services where a small number of people present the service for the larger group and invite them to participate.

I find this a helpful sketch becasue it covers a wide swath of congregations from many different theological traditions and sets up helpful contrasts with what is normative in house churches, which typically differ on all four points.

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