This thesis is concerned with the recent trends within church gatherings where it is reported that there are growing numbers of 15-35 year olds missing from many evangelical churches. This is the generation commonly labelled as postmodern, and is even associated with the most up to date reaction of post-post modernism. The startling facts around this missing generation are explored in this thesis. This investigation looks at the present status of church services (Chapter 2) where the research identifies this problem of attendance of the younger generation at church gatherings, as well as the danger of the irrelevance of the church in its postmodern context. From here the study moves to suggest the basis of authority (Chapter 3), which is the biblical model for church gatherings. Once this foundation is established we move to detect the specific gaps between the current status (Chapter 4) and the biblical model. This leaves the application (Chapter 5) of what the church needs to do to get back to the original scriptural shape, and to be relevant to the postmodern era in which it finds itself. Due to the nature of the topic, the thesis discusses the characteristics of emerging generations, and what it means to be relevant to postmodern society in the way that a church gathering worships, preaches and styles itself. Other elements of liturgy are examined, such as the Lord’s Supper. In this manner, this thesis moves the reader to a point where they are able to see that the church at large needs to make some drastic changes to the way that it designs its gatherings. The author is careful to show that being relevant to culture is an endless quest, and that church leaders are wise to understand that this pursuit must be secondary to the main issue of seeking Jesus Christ and sticking to the power of the unchanging gospel. This must come before trendy worship music, flashy lights, big loud sound systems and professionally designed web pages. All these are simply smoke and no flames if the church is simply passionate about the superficial surface stylistic features of its gatherings. Therefore, in moving towards relevant church services for the postmodern era, the author takes the reader on a journey where he encourages the church to take some bold steps into adapting and “redesigning the packaging” of Christian ministry in church gatherings. Church meetings cannot just be about being social, creative and communal. They must be defined by the biblical framework that calls for a spiritual gathering of believers that come to worship together as God ordained, to participate in a reverent, powerful, experiential, participative, creative, multi-sensory meeting where they meet with God.
Dissertation (MA(Theol))--University of Pretoria, 2011.