Which music platform do you think turned a larger profit last year – an “app” like Spotify or vinyl records? The answer might surprise you. According to Time magazine, vinyl records brought in more than $226 million dollars last year in the United States alone – almost double what free digital music streaming services earned from advertisements. But what really made me scratch my head was that most of the people buying these old records were in their 20’s and 30’s. What’s old is new. And actually, there’s a similar movement happening in churches right now too.
Over the last few decades we’ve seen attention shift from community-based congregations to “mega churches.” And these types of gatherings have had their moment. Big stages and flashy worship services became a model for what a “successful” church should look like. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with these big gatherings, some of mega-church pastors have acknowledged that they’ve faced some serious challenges too – trying to help people know and care for one another other and, more importantly, helping congregants mature in their faith.
But now there’s an upcoming generation of youth who grew up in these larger churches, but now they’re looking for a change. They’re seeking out more intimate church communities where they can get involved with a missional cause. And when it comes to worship, many are searching through the pages of the old songbooks and finding hymns inspired by giants of the faith like Charles Wesley, Martin Luther and Augustine. Just like the run on vinyl records, that “old time” religion has become “new” again.
At GCI, we think we’ve got a little of that “old time religion.” Our churches aren’t too large or overwhelming. We’re a tight knit group of believers who have been saved by God’s abundant grace and we can’t wait to share it with the rest of the world. And like those original converts to the faith who gathered for meals and fellowship we love getting together before, during and after a service to build real and lasting relationships based on Christ’s love and mercy. So whether you’re one of those people who has gone back to the “real” sound of vinyl recordings or you’re just looking for some of that “old time religion,” swing on by one of our GCI churches or fellowship groups. You can find us at: gci.org/participate/find
We’d love to have you join us.
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.