Andrew Parker

18 Outdated Church Traditions That Are Driving People Away

A lot of things can change in a few decades, but unfortunately, some church practices don’t. Of course, not all things the Church does or encourages people to do are bad, and many of them are actually quite good. But there are a few things that, for one reason or another, feel pretty outdated in our modern world. Here are 18 of them.

Latin Mass

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While Latin might be great for tradition, it’s not so great for delivering things like Mass because it confuses half the room. After all, you wouldn’t use Latin if you were giving any other kind of presentation, so why use it for this one? Mixing in some English could help everyone, including young people, actually understand the sermon.

Gender-Specific Roles

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We all know how important equality is today, but some churches still insist that only men can do certain jobs. Catholics, for example, believe that women can’t be priests. The law says we’re equal at the office and other places, so why are we not the same at Church? We all have a right to feel valued and included.

Public Confession

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Having to air your dirty laundry in front of everyone at Church sounds strange, but many places do this. Most of us would prefer to keep our confessions between ourselves and our pastor instead of the whole congregation, yet some Christian denominations encourage people to confess publicly. We should keep things private to respect everyone’s personal space.

Old-Fashioned Music

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While some church hymns might’ve been hits centuries ago, they don’t really work for younger generations or even those of us who want a bit of variety. Churches should mix in some more modern songs to make the service a little more relatable. This way, everyone feels right at home in the Church, as they should.

Too Many Rituals

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There’s no denying that rituals are important. But when they become so complicated that nobody knows why we’re doing them, then it’s time to simplify. After all, do you know the real reasons why some churches toss water around or light candles? Didn’t think so. If we simplify the rituals, everyone will understand why they’re doing what they’re doing.

Not Enough Technology

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Smartphones are practically part of our bodies now, so churches that ignore these feel pretty old-fashioned. Many churches refuse to modernize with new technology, and it’s making them seem more outdated than traditional. Some churches have apps for Bible study and online prayer groups, for example, but not enough.

Political Issues

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Church should be a place of sanctuary instead of an election rally, so why are lots of church leaders pushing their political views in the pulpits? The Church should be a place to welcome everyone, and the only way to do this is by being apolitical. Nobody should feel discriminated against in a house of worship simply because they don’t vote the same way.

Forced Tithing

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A big part of being a member of a community includes supporting them, especially financially. But this should be a choice instead of something forced on them, which is why mandatory tithing in the Church seems unfair. We need to focus on faith and encouraging people to share the wealth instead of forcing them to think about the church budgets.

Separate Seating

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The idea that people of a certain gender or marital status can’t sit with each other seems so ancient, and that’s because it is. Many early American churches separated people this way, and sadly, this tradition has continued with some Orthodox churches today. It just doesn’t make any sense and seems utterly ridiculous in this day and age.

Strict Dress Code

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Of course, suits and dresses make us look smart and pretty, but making them part of the church rules is odd. In fact, there shouldn’t even be a dress code, as the Church is supposed to be a place where you can truly be yourself. Fashion shouldn’t matter because it’s our sense of fellow that we should be thinking about. Let people come as they are, literally.

Too Much Hellfire

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Some churches focus on the negatives quite a bit because they talk about sinners and non-believers being punished. Although they’re trying to encourage people to do the right thing, this can actually have the opposite effect and make them afraid to act. We need to focus on making the Church a place of support and positivity instead of fear and anger.

Closed Communion

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In some churches, communion is completely closed and only available for people who are actually part of the Church, which makes other people feel excluded. We should invite everyone to take part so we can create a sense of community. After all, isn’t everyone meant to feel welcomed in the Church?

Outdated Marriage Counseling

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Of course, it’s great that so many churches give members marriage counseling if they need it. But the quality of this counseling? Not so great. Most counselors focus too much on the sanctity of marriage instead of doing what’s right for each person. Instead, these counselors should think about modern relationships and give advice that’s actually helpful.

Boring Sermons

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Sermons should talk about what’s going on in the world right now instead of “traditional” problems. If people can make a connection between Sunday sermons and their daily grind, they’re far more likely to get something meaningful out of it. The Church should feel useful to them and not just part of a routine.

Formal Prayer

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Even though prayer is meant to be personal, most churches treat it in a way that’s a little too formal. Prayers should be a little more off-the-cuff so that they feel more genuine and less scripted. When people share what’s really on their minds, people feel a stronger connection to their faith and each other.

Ignoring Youth Programs

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Unfortunately, plenty of churches focus too heavily on the older generation than the younger ones, mostly because older people tend to go to the Church more often. This creates a bit of a vicious cycle, as it discourages young people from wanting to visit the Church. Churches need to include more youth programs to keep these kids engaged and to create a better future for the community.

Strict Routines

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There’s no reason why we have to offer church services at specific times, especially since so many people can’t attend at these times. We’re working a lot more now than ever before, and that means there should be evening slots for people to get involved spiritually. More flexibility means more people can make it, which is always a good thing.

Ignoring the Environment

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Even though Christianity talks about environmental stewardship, you’d be surprised at how many churches and church members aren’t actually green. They need to teach people to cut down on waste and recycle more to help out our planet. Not doing so seems old-fashioned and, at worst, pretty ignorant.

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