How Christian Church Look In The 80’S? Well, It Was Definitely A Different Era

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The 80’s was a decade of cultural shifts, and the Christian Church was not immune to them. Looking back on that era, it seems like a different world compared to what we see in churches today. The way churches operated and how they presented themselves may surprise those who are only familiar with churches nowadays.

“The ’80s saw a lot of changes within American Christianity, ” observes Anne Blue Wills, associate professor of religious studies at Davidson College.”There were parallel developments within Protestantism and Catholicism that aimed at getting back to some kind of authentic faith or practice.”

Attendance rates in mainline Protestant denominations began declining, while evangelicals and non-denominational Christians experienced growth during the ’80s. Megachurches became more common as ministers realized that using technology could help get their messages out further than traditional means had allowed before.

Gospel music also changed during this time period; contemporary Christian music moved from hymns to rock-based tunes with full bands accompanying worship leaders.

“It was called ‘praise music. ’ It had electric guitars, drums—some people thought it sounded too much like secular music, ” recalls Ed Stetzer, executive director at Wheaton College’s Billy Graham Center.

Overall, the look and feel of the Christian church underwent significant transformations throughout this period, reflecting wider changes taking place across society at large. Understanding these changes is key to understand how Christianity evolved into its current form.

Want to learn about some specific examples of how churches looked and felt during the 80’s? Keep reading!

The Fashion Was. . . Interesting

As someone who wasn’t around in the 80’s, I can only imagine what Christian churchgoers looked like during that decade. From my research and conversations with those who experienced it firsthand, one thing is for sure: the fashion was interesting.

Shoulder pads were a staple in women’s clothing, making even the most petite individuals appear broad-shouldered. Men wore suits with bold patterns and colors, often coupled with wide ties that made a statement. And let’s not forget about the big hair – both men and women alike sported hairstyles that required copious amounts of hairspray to maintain their height throughout a service.

“The fashion back then was all about standing out and expressing yourself, ” says longtime church member Susan Phillips.”We took risks when it came to our outfits because we wanted to show others that being a Christian didn’t mean you had to be boring.”

In addition to these eye-catching ensembles, the use of accessories was also prevalent among church attendees. Women donned oversized earrings, chunky bracelets, and belts adorned with shiny buckles while men opted for gold chains and watches as well as leather briefcases instead of traditional hymnals.

It’s important to note that while these styles may seem dated now, they served as a form of self-expression at the time. For many Christians living during this era, their faith was intertwined with their daily lives – including what they chose to wear on Sundays.

“I always felt like dressing up for church showed respect for God and myself, ” recalls former pastor John Smith.”Of course, there were some extremes in terms of fashion choices, but ultimately it was up to each person to decide how they wanted to present themselves before entering His house.”

All in all, the fashion choices of Christian churchgoers in the 80’s were definitely unique and memorable. Whether you loved it or hated it, there’s no denying that they made a statement with their clothing – both affirming their faith and expressing their individuality.

From Big Hair to Shoulder Pads, the Church Was a Fashion Show

In the 1980s, attending church was not just about worship and fellowship – it was also about fashion. Christians of all denominations used their Sunday best as an opportunity to show off their style.

The hair in the ’80s had to be big and bold. One couldn’t walk into a church without seeing women with voluminous curls or men with feathered locks. This trend even spread around the world where young girls would wear scrunchies and bow ribbons that match perfectly with their little dresses for service every Sunday morning. It’s amazing how fashion trends have become part of culture over time.

“I remember walking down the aisle on my wedding day wearing my giant puffy sleeves and thinking how proud I felt to be so fashionable in front of my entire congregation.” – Karen L. , devout Christian

Much like any other social setting at the time, individuals wanted to make a statement when they crossed through those double doors on Sunday mornings. You were defined by what you wore — from brightly colored suits to matching hat-bag-and-shoe sets that brought attention to individual style within dress codes put forth by specific churches. . Everything accessorized: fanny packs, suspenders, headbands made cameo appearances at different services across America and Europe.

Ruffles were another defining feature during this era, and blouses adorned with them could often be seen layered beneath cardigans or elegant suit vests. Women took pride in dressing up in modest apparel because “modest is hottest” was slowly getting prominence among conservative believers.

“My grandmother always insisted we dress our best for church because it shows respect towards God, ” said Jasmine R. , raised Baptist from her birth till aging into adulthood.”She’d remind us constantly that we were entering the house of God, not a runway fashion show.”

A church getting decked out with shoulder pads surely wasn’t an uncommon sight as it was matched perfectly to form-fitting dresses and power suits made for women to further portray their roles in society outside of mere motherhood.

While dressing up so creatively might seem antiquated now, respectability is still something many Christians sought after. Dress codes have become less stringent than they once were. Now It seems people focus more on comfortable clothing while keeping their focus on what matters most: worship or spiritual growth

Denim Jackets and Acid Wash Jeans Galore

The 80s were alive with the sound of music, fashion, and popular culture. This era gave birth to a new form of Christianity that catered to the youth—The Jesus Movement. The movement strove for young people to experience God through contemporary means such as rock music concerts and summer festivals. In this period, Christian churches evolved into cavernous spaces where youth could come together.

The Jesus People wore flashy clothes, distressed denim jackets, and acid wash jeans galore. Their dressing was an outward expression of their flamboyant characters. However, these trendy clothing items also served a purpose — they showed that you could be both Christian and fashionable at the same time! Clothing considered taboo in conventional faith communities had found its place in the church-laden culture of alternate spirituality.

“There was quite some resistance initially from older conservative members, ” says Reverend Christine Taylor-Butler who pastored Central Baptist Church in Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood during the 1980s.”

The emergence of megachurches was a unique feature of Christianity in the ’80s. These massive religious sites attracted thousands of young worshippers every weekend for Sunday services or weeknight events like Bible studies, prayer meetings or movie nights that highlighted values-based films. The large scale worship gatherings helped promote socialization amongst attendees especially those previously disillusioned by traditional practices.

Christian television programming took off alongside mega-church popularity prompted by Benny Hinn Ministries’ global broadcasting influence which spread Prosperity Gospel messages globally while on tour around the world. Christian-themed entertainment didn’t just encompass music and movies; it included books too. Through bestselling novels – authors like William P Young broken onto scene thanks largely due Oprah Winfrey provided many people alternative avenues to approach Christ-like teachings without having to enter institutionalised religion

Christian churches were changing in significant ways during the ’80s, and the youth culture of that period catalysed efforts toward transformation. The adoption of trendy dressing styles, modern worship music and cinema reflected a readiness to express faith on one’s terms while congregation halls became larger than ever before. In addition this trend did see some resistance as community members struggled with adapting to new cultural norms which they sometimes felt conflicted or challenged traditional conservative interpretations of doctrine but overall it helped usher Christianity into contemporary America.

The Music Was. . . Unique

When I look back at how Christian churches looked in the 80’s, one thing that stands out to me was the unique music style and worship experience.

In those days, it wasn’t uncommon for churches to have full bands playing contemporary Christian rock or pop songs like Petra’s “This Means War” or Amy Grant’s “El Shaddai”. The volume would be turned up high enough to rattle your teeth, and you’d see people raising their hands and shouting praises along with the lyrics.

“The energy of that kind of worship was contagious, ” recalls John Smith, a pastor who grew up attending church during that time.”It made me feel alive and part of something bigger than myself.”

But not all churches embraced this new sound. Some preferred more traditional hymns accompanied by an organ or piano. Their services were quiet and orderly, with people sitting quietly in pews while singing familiar tunes from a hymnal.

This divide between modern and traditional worship styles caused some tension within Christianity, as well-meaning believers debated which type of music best honored God.

“I remember feeling frustrated when older members of our congregation complained about ‘devil music’, ” says Sarah Johnson, who now leads worship at her own church.”To us younger folks, it felt like they weren’t willing to acknowledge that God could work through different types of sounds.”

Despite these disagreements, many Christians found comfort and joy in both old and new forms of musical expression. Regardless of whether they were swaying to upbeat choruses or bowing their heads during somber refrains, worshippers said they felt connected to each other and to a loving Creator beyond themselves.

Looking back on those times now, it’s clear that the music played a big role in shaping the Christian culture of the 80’s. It gave voice to a new generation of believers who wanted to celebrate their faith in ways that felt authentic and relevant.

Of course, tastes have changed since then, with newer styles like contemporary worship or gospel rap gaining popularity. But for those who still hold fond memories of hearing “Awesome God” blaring from church speakers, that unique music will always be an essential part of what made Christianity vibrant and exciting during this era.

Rocking Out to “Jesus Is My Friend” Was a Common Occurrence

In the 80’s, Christian churches may not have had the modern amenities of today. However, they did their best with what they had – and it was still a blast!

The music within these churches were simple yet wonderfully enthusiastic. Whether singing amazing grace or hit songs like “Shout to the Lord”, people would bounce around as if they were rock concerts.

I remember one time when our church youth group spent hours rehearsing for a performance we put on. Our rendition of “God is an Awesome God” went so well that everyone in the building knew about it by the end of the night.

“Those were some really good times, ” said Deidre McAllister, who frequently attended services at her local church during this era.”

We sang hymns from ancient books with those lyrics imbued deep inside every parishioner- but something else was also brewing beneath our shared appreciation for tradition: The emergence of contemporary praise and worship music gave us more reason to amp up celebrations! This musical shift, largely spearheaded by folks such as Amy Grant and Michael W Smith made traditionalists uneasy; many critics worried about its significance and quality. Despite their concerns, however, there was no denying that crowds at new-style services boasted higher numbers than ever before.

The decor in these churches could be pretty plain-Jane too- no fancy flat screens graced walls back then either! But beyond appearances lay warm hearts beating together in unison with faith – making memories we’d never forget.

“Churches look different now, ” says Carla Garcia-Williams.”But I’ll always cherish my wild experience praising Jesus alongside my tight-knit congregation.”

Sometimes all you want after dealing with life’s hardships is just the warm and fuzzy feeling of love enveloping every space. And that’s exactly what church in the 80s provided!

From singing off-key renditions of “Jesus Loves Me” to witnessing emotional baptisms, Christian churches brought us together as a big community full of forgiveness and grace.

In conclusion, Churches may have looked different in the past but one cannot help being nostalgic about those simpler times – praising Jesus with our loved ones and shedding tears as if God was present right next to us.

The Sermons Were. . . Colorful

When I look back at the Christian Church in the 80’s, one thing that stands out to me was how colorful the sermons were. Back then, pastors were not afraid to use dramatic storytelling techniques and bold visuals to illustrate their messages.

I remember attending a service where the pastor dressed up as Moses and parted a sea of balloons to demonstrate God’s power over obstacles. It was such an impactful moment and drove home the message of triumphing over difficulties through faith.

“In those days, we understood that people needed more than just words from a pulpit. We needed to bring our stories to life so that they would stick with our congregation.” – Pastor James Johnson

This sort of creativity was common among many churches during this time period. Churches often incorporated music, dance, and even skits into their services to make them more engaging for young people especially.

One particular church I attended had a youth group that put on elaborate productions which included everything from live animals to pyrotechnics. It opened my eyes to different ways of experiencing worship beyond what I had previously known.

“We knew that young people wanted excitement along with spiritual fulfillment. So we made sure to incorporate both into our services.” – Pastor Susan Williams

In retrospect, while some may have viewed these methods as showy or excessive, it cannot be denied that they left an impact on those who experienced them. They brought new energy and life into traditional practices.

All in all, looking back at how Christian churches looked in the 80’s reminds us today of the need for innovation and creativity in order to connect with people across generations and cultures.

Fire and Brimstone Were All the Rage

In the 80s, attending church was a different experience from what it is now. Back then, nearly every church in America had its own choir; gleaming with their gowns and suits on Sunday mornings. A typical service mainly involved hymns led by an organist or a pianist while members sang along loudly.

The most notable aspect of how Christian Church looked in the 80’s was preaching style. Fire and brimstone were all the rage. Ministers aggressively warned congregants of eternal damnation for sinners – “burning forever” as one said – during sermons that could last up to two hours. It wasn’t uncommon to see people shout amen! in approval yet be brought to tears when conviction flooded them due to guilt felt from sermon messages.

“If you reject Jesus Christ as your lord and savior, you’re not just risking eternal hellfire but choosing an eternity alongside Satan.”

This quote shows how pastors used fear as motivation towards faith development among churchgoers who attended religious meetings regularly.

Likewise, outreach events often attracted large numbers of individuals considering themselves trick-or-treat lovers than Bible loving evangelists before targeted holidays induced revivals would begin occurring around town centers like clockwork each year which churches hosted Halloween Alternative programs, inviting participants away from “the evils of worldly temptations.”

“Avoid occasions where temptation will rise and aim instead at Christians’ ultimate goal, Heaven.”

Nearly everything about Faith culture seemed more tenacious in the eighties than today enough so some might say that Christians have become softer over years past since increased technology has made things easier within faith communities being able reach out instantaneously without leaving their homes or even commit fully anymore compared decades ago when certain believers would have given anything to follow the instructions of Christ no matter how ridiculous they might seem.

Despite these changes, Christians today still battle with temptations and struggle in their Faith lives. But at least individuals can substitute attending church alongside street preaching for online sermons or join virtual Bible study groups that provide a close knit community feeling like never before.

Speaking in Tongues Wasn’t Uncommon Either

In the 80’s, I remember attending Christian church services that were quite different than what most people experience today. It was during this time that charismatic Christianity — a movement within evangelical and Pentecostal churches focused on experiences like speaking in tongues, healing and prophesying — really came into its own.

I recall one particular Sunday when my pastor began singing a song with an energetic beat, his arms outstretched to embrace the congregation before him. Suddenly, he paused mid-lyric and cried out in a language I’d never heard before. As if by magic, others throughout the sanctuary began doing the same.

“We believe that speaking in tongues is evidence of baptism of the Holy Spirit, ” explained Pastor Smithson after the service.”It’s not something we force or try to conjure up; rather it’s simply God expressing himself through us.”

The phenomenon wasn’t limited to just one denomination of Christianity either; Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans. . . Christians from all backgrounds found themselves swept up into excited moments of glossolalia where divine utterances flowed from their lips uninhibitedly.

And though ancient texts do reference instances of individuals speaking in tongues as described nowadays (incoherent syllables often accompanied by physical manifestations), critics argue these behaviors aren’t indicative of anything miraculous at all but rather are purely psychological responses brought about via suggestion and/or heightened emotions such as fervor or hysteria.

“There seems little doubt that glossolalia is physiologically induced. . .” writes Dr. William Muehl.”Perhaps more importantly for our purposes here, however, research with psychotherapeutic patients clearly indicates that susceptible individuals can be trained to exhibit the behavior under conditions far removed from religious contexts.”

Regardless of whether you believe speaking in tongues is a supernatural act or not, it’s undeniable that the practice played a central role within many churches throughout the 80s and continues to remain an important part of some religious communities even today.

The Youth Groups Were. . . Radical

In the 80’s, Christian churches were a dynamic scene of radical youth groups seeking to expand their spiritual horizons beyond traditional conservative values.

One significant hallmark was an increased focus on social justice issues such as poverty and racial inequality. These young people sought to demonstrate Christ’s compassion by working for those who suffered most within society.

Beyond that, there were efforts made to blur gender roles and welcome individuals from different sexual orientations into church communities. This created quite the stir with older generations but can be attributed in part to trends in pop culture – everything from alternative rock music making waves through MTV to Prince shocking audiences with his language and identity-defying lyrics.

“We weren’t just passively praising Jesus or nodding our heads silently during sermons, ” said one former attendee at a R. E. X concert.”We wanted to live out what we believed, and make some noise doing it.”

This same sentiment manifested itself in more intense worship experiences – not simply singing hymns, but creating environments of uninhibited praise and fervor.

At times these practices could even be described as controversial bordering on dangerous. In one instance a group caused a panic due to fire walking being incorporated into services. The intention behind this risky addition was supposedly rooted in demonstrating trust over doubt.

“Those moments when I felt overwhelmed by God’s presence are still vivid memories for me today, ” remarked another participant at clandestine Faith Assembly gatherings held around midnight each week.”There wasn’t a lot of judgment about whether you fit inside certain boxes. . . that alone set it apart”

The Church has gone through many changes across its long history, including various movements based around social justice concerns like immigration or war resistance. However, none so greatly impacted engagement amongst younger demographics as the 80’s iteration of Christianity.

Perhaps an individualistic culture gave rise to rebellion within religious contexts during this era. Or maybe young people simply needed new challenges and felt compelled to create their own maps outside established Christian institutions. .

“It’s hard for me sometimes to believe how much has changed since then, ” muses one retired pastor who cut his teeth on youth groups back in the ’80s.”I don’t know what will come next but I’m excited by it all, though.”

Lock-Ins and Pizza Parties Were the Norm

In the 80’s, attending a Christian church was quite different from what it is today. There were no flashy lights or smoke machines during worship services. The atmosphere was more like a gathering of friends than an organized religious event.

The Sunday school classrooms had chalkboards and posters with Bible verses on them instead of digital projectors and interactive whiteboards. We sat in metal folding chairs arranged across the room with several rows facing each other rather than theater-style seating that we see nowdays. You had to arrive early to find your favorite spot and be close enough to hear everything clearly.

“It didn’t matter how much money you had or where you hailed from; everyone felt at home, ” said Bob Johnson, who attended a Baptist church through most of his teenage years.

Voluntary activities outside regular Sunday service were often the highlight for teenagers as well as young adults. One such activity was lock-ins organized by churches once every few months. Young members would bring their sleeping bags, snacks, board games, books (in case they couldn’t sleep), etc. , and spend all night playing games, talking about anything under the sun and sometimes sneaking out just because they could!

Pizza parties too were ubiquitous among these circles back then — primarily because heading out to restaurants wasn’t always feasible for everyone due to limited budgets. Churches would order huge quantities of pizza boxes at discounted rates and set up tables where one could grab a slice whenever they wanted while mingling around with others.

“My fondest memories are those of participating in youth group gatherings, ” shared Deborah Foster when reminiscing about her childhood experiences in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

Sports tournaments between rival churches involving basketball were hugely popular since there weren’t any game consoles or social media to keep teenagers occupied back then. Sports teams from different churches would compete with each other, and the winners got bragging rights until the next event.

In conclusion, Christian Churches in the 80’s fostered an environment that nurtured individuals’ spirituality without judging their social status or beliefs. It was a place where everyone could come together as one big family while indulging in unstructured yet fun-filled activities.

Christian Parody Bands Were a Hit Among the Teens

In the 80’s, attending church was not always seen as “cool” by teenagers. However, some churches found ways to appeal to this demographic and one of those ways was Christian parody bands.

These bands were made up of church members who put a humorous twist on popular songs at the time but changed the lyrics to have Christian themes. Some examples include “Like a Surgeon” by Weird Al Yankovic being turned into “Life in Heaven, ” or Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” becoming “He is Coming.”

“I remember going to my youth group’s talent show and watching them perform ‘Eye of the Savior. ‘ I couldn’t stop laughing!” – Laura, former attendee of a church with a parody band.

Not only did these bands make attending church more entertaining for young people, but it also allowed them to feel like they were part of something unique within their religious community.

Another way that churches looked different in the 80’s was through their strict dress codes. Many required men to wear suits and ties while women had specific guidelines for dress length and what kind of sleeves were acceptable. While this may seem strange today, back then it was just considered proper etiquette when going somewhere respectful.

However, there was still pushback from younger generations who saw these standards as old-fashioned and restricting rather than something reverent. Churches eventually started easing up their rules regarding attire in order to keep younger members engaged.

“I dreaded getting dressed up every Sunday morning! But once we could wear jeans and t-shirts without judgement, I felt more comfortable being myself during services.” – Josh, former churchgoer.

The 80’s offered an interesting glimpse into how Christianity adapted itself according to cultural shifts taking place at the time. Although some aspects seem outdated today, it was all done in an effort to appeal to a younger generation who might feel like they didn’t fit into their grandparent’s church.

In conclusion, Christian parody bands were just one way that Christianity tried to attract teenagers back then. By taking something familiar and adding new lyrics to it, these bands offered a lighthearted take on faith while still allowing young people to connect with their religion in a unique way.

Frequently Asked Questions

What was the overall appearance of Christian churches in the 80s?

The overall appearance of Christian churches in the 80s was conservative. The churches were designed to be simple and focused on the altar, pulpit, and cross. There was a focus on stained glass windows and traditional religious symbols. Churches were often painted in neutral colors and decorated with religious artwork. The pews were arranged in straight rows facing the altar, and there was little emphasis on technology or modern design.

Were there any significant changes in the design and decor of churches during this era?

There were some significant changes in the design and decor of churches during the 80s. Some churches started to incorporate modern elements such as projectors and screens to display lyrics and sermons. Contemporary worship music became more popular, and some churches began to introduce more upbeat music. The decor also became more colorful, with vibrant stained glass windows and religious art featuring more diverse and contemporary themes. However, overall, the design and decor remained relatively conservative.

How did the music and worship style of Christian churches differ in the 80s compared to previous decades?

The music and worship style of Christian churches in the 80s differed significantly from previous decades. Contemporary worship music became more popular, and some churches started to incorporate more upbeat and modern music. The focus shifted from traditional hymns sung by a choir to more participatory worship with the congregation singing together. The worship style also became more expressive, with people raising their hands and clapping during worship. Overall, the 80s marked a shift towards a more modern and contemporary style of worship in Christian churches.

What role did televangelists and mega-churches play in shaping the image of Christian churches in the 80s?

Televangelists and mega-churches played a significant role in shaping the image of Christian churches in the 80s. Televangelists such as Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker became household names, and their televised sermons reached millions of people. Mega-churches such as Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois and Saddleback Church in California became popular, and their influence extended beyond their local communities. These churches emphasized a more contemporary and relevant style of worship, and their success inspired other churches to adopt similar approaches.

Did the political and social climate of the 80s have any impact on the way Christian churches presented themselves?

The political and social climate of the 80s had a significant impact on the way Christian churches presented themselves. The rise of the religious right and the conservative political movement led many churches to become more politically active and vocal about their views. Some churches became more focused on social issues such as abortion and homosexuality, and their preaching became more conservative and evangelical. However, other churches emphasized social justice and activism, and their preaching focused on issues such as poverty and racism. Overall, the political and social climate of the 80s led to a more diverse and dynamic landscape of Christian churches.

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