The question I attempt to answer in this article is how church traditions can play a positive or constructive role in local church development – and when and why they cannot do so, but on the contrary, become an obstacle to developing churches in an ecclesiological holistic way. One of the main reasons why church traditions become a problem for church development today is to emphasize either the historical or the contemporary context of the church. Based on a holistic ecclesiological model, the article argues that a local church always stands in the tension between, on the one hand, the long history and tradition of the Christian Church – where “my” church tradition also is located –, and on the other hand, the Church’s presence in a given time and culture. In order to assess the constructive value of church traditions and their significance for church development, I recommend inspiration and guidance gained from thinking developed, in general, according to the concepts of detraditionalization and retraditionalization – and according to what is related to the question of a tradition’s «intention», in particular. Here the article argues that the using and re-using potential of church traditions does not have to be not only linked to the historical dimension of the Church, but also to the socio-cultural one. Looking at the church landscape in Scandinavia today, one will find that there are representatives of local churches that relatively and unilaterally emphasize the practice of sacrament and liturgy. This is accentuated partly by those who wish to modernize meetings, music and forms of communication with the intention to adapt the church to the contemporary culture, and partly by those who try to find a balance between traditional values and contemporary ones. The United Malmö church is appointed out as an example of the latter way of thinking church development.
Keywords: Tradition, traditionalism, church traditions, ecclesiology, church development, detraditionalization, retraditionalization, intentional congregations.