The American church world breaks down into 3 main groups.

1. Traditional church.

The American church world breaks down into 3 main groups.

1. Traditional church.

Sometimes called "legacy churches", this is church as we know it, with Sunday 11 a.m. "worship services", Sunday School classes and is building based, pastor-led, program-driven, etc. This church has been around forever and the feeling of those attending is this is what we have and know and love… and we are determined to make the best out of it! "Bloom where you are planted" and so on. The vast majority of church goers in this country fall into this category.

2. Emerging church.

Here the emphasis is of changing church as we know it to fit our culture, be more relevant and make a difference in people’s lives- reaching them where they live. Some of these groups meet in the back of a pick-up truck, at Starbucks, over lunch at work, under a bridge with the homeless, in a empty cathedral type church with candles and organ music, next to a lake with a water skiing group, etc. This movement is youth oriented and the feeling one gets is that belonging is very trendy.

3. House church.

The cornerstone of this movement is not looking forward for a new type of church experience but looking backward to the First Century. Emphasis is on the apostolic, New Testament type church that Paul and his co-workers planted: Thus you find them meeting in homes (Rom 16:5,1 Cor 16:19), eating a meal together (sometimes called a love-feast; Jude 12, 1 Cor 11) and assembling with each person contributing to the gathering with spiritual gifts for the edification of the church (1 Cor 12-14). The bulk of this group seems to be families but I am not certain enough on that to make a big point of it.

Comments welcome and appreciated!!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • john o’keefe

    jeff,
    i would agree if you added one more – the “contemporary church”
    the traditional church [old-line churches]
    the contemporary church [main-line churches]
    the emerging church [postmodern churches]
    house church [postmodern churches also]
    those outside the emerging see churches like willowcreek and saddleback as “emerging” – and they are so not even close :)

  • herobill

    Hey, Jeff. I’d say you did a very accurate job of describing things pretty well… given the fact that we know you were generalizing and each ‘category’ really describes a broad range of groups, actually.
    Not sure what you mean about house churches being families, though. Have you really seen a lot of that?

  • Lee Underwood

    Jeff,
    You stated it very well. I believe that the picture of what is happening is beginning to become clear to many others. The bride is making herself ready. I belong to a small house church. Just letting Jesus lead and not being led by a man is beautiful.