Attendance at traditional churches on decline; more modern churches attracting new followers

MILWAUKEE - At a time when many churches are struggling to attract new members, people are flocking to non-traditional or more modern churches.
 
"We try to take church and then bridge it into people's everyday life and to do that we need to use non-traditional methods," explained Mark Weight, the lead pastor at the Ridge Community Church in Greenfield. 
 
That includes more upbeat songs and a more casual atmosphere. 
 
"At most services, we play a song that's very popular on the radio. We go on YouTube and see what's trending. We pick a theme every weekend and we take a song that fits that theme and we kind of put it together and it really enhances the experience when people come in here." 
 
The church's approach seems to be resonating with attendees. The Ridge's membership has grown so much that leaders are in the process of setting up a second location in Oak Creek. 
 
Epikos church strikes a similar chord. It has three locations in the Milwaukee area. 
 
"We preach through books of the Bible, but the worship music is something that people can relate to," said Danny Parmelee, lead pastor. "It's more upbeat. It's guitar driven and [synthesizer] driven and drums. The whole shebang."
 
It's an experience that many find more authentic. 
 
"People aren't putting on a mask or being fake. They're not pretending they have it all together if they don't really have it all together. And that's a theme that will go from leaders, pastors, preachers, those on staff all the way down to average people who go to church."
 
Moving forward, Weight says churches will need to keep two things in mind. 
 
"Technology and communications are the future. Corporations understand this but the church sometimes is late to the game."
 
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