Attending Church Is About Him, Not Us

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Thousand Hills, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. Thousand Hills

    Thousand Hills
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    Here is a short, but good commentary about some recent Barna research regarding Church attendance trends. I'm sure the research crosses all denominations. Regardless, just like everything else in our society, what it means to be a church member is being redefined.

    To the folks in BB land, what is your church doing well to get the point across that membership (and attendance) matters?

     
  2. Earth Wind and Fire

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    TH......lets be honest and admit this topic has been exhaustively discussed to death. So why are you trying to resurrect it?
     
  3. Thousand Hills

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    I'm trying to ask others here what is working in their churches, what are they doing differently. Is it new member classes? Life Groups? Better follow up/communication from Deacons or staff when someone doesn't come as often as they used to?
     
  4. plain_n_simple

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    Being fed the Word, fellowship with like-minded faith, worshiping in truth and spirit, edification, going out to the world.
     
  5. Thousand Hills

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    The Back Door

    http://thomrainer.com/2011/10/10/closing_the_back_door_in_churches_four_keys/

     
  6. Earth Wind and Fire

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    So....is this an SBC/PROGRAMS Based orientation type question?
     
  7. Thousand Hills

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    No, its a hey we realized there was a problem. We took steps to address the issue, here's how we did it, type question.
     
  8. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Are confident you have enough data to come up with the right diagnosis? Also, would you liken this to a Return on Investment synario?
     
  9. salzer mtn

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    I sometimes go and visit the churches I use to attend when they have a revival and the things that use to be the norm with me are like a sore thumb that get's your attention. The attendance board that some churches worry over each Sunday and if attendance or offerings are down it ruins their whole Sunday for some people. The testimony services and special singing that are nothing more than competition to see who is more Godley. The altar calls where the whole church prays out loud and you really can't concentrate to get your mind on praying. The altar call to the lost at the end of the service that the evangelist uses pear pressure or guilt trips as the means to get someone to come. Then when a person does come and the church comes around the old fashion altar as they call it to pray for them, and at the end of the prayer time which last no longer than five minutes seems like the sinner is programed or this is the Q for them to get up and confess jesus which they do. I'm glad the Lord brought me out of will worship into a church where the gospel is preached each Sunday without all the bells and whistles.
     
    #9 salzer mtn, Apr 10, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 10, 2014
  10. Revmitchell

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    Attending church is about Him and not us. It is not about finding the kind of worship style we want or prefer but it is about giving Him our worship. It is not about what we can get out of church it is about what we can give God which is our worship.

    The difficulty becomes when lost people and even young Christians begin to choose to attend church they do not nor can they understand this. It needs to be taught and practiced in our churches. The question is how can we do that and retain the people.
     
  11. righteousdude2

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    Thanks....

    ....this has more truth in it's core than anything I've seen in a while! :thumbsup:

    As a pastor, the reason I was so nervous about Sunday services, or any service held, was because it was being held for Him, and I just wanted it to be all it could be to glorify Him, and feed those in attendance! It was never about me, my messages, the songs, the prayers, testimonies. It was to lift up Jesus so that in turn, his people would be lifted up,too! :thumbsup:
     
  12. Earth Wind and Fire

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    hmmmm....thats interesting Salzer.....I feel the same way. The difference is that I was raised Roman Catholic & today if I go in I see empty rituals & not deep prayer & worship. The one thing I did like was that the Catholic Priests of the day got off their keisters & did visitations. They actually payed house calls! When was the last time you had a visit from your Pastor? Then I also remember a Presbyterian Pastor who payed a night visit to a man that recently lost his wife to cancer.....a young guy with two young kids to raise, but he took to drinking & Pastor Little went to the guys house late at night to pay him a visit. He also met with him almost daily & had the towns people watch over the family......the man would always get dinners brought to the family....this went on for years & today this fellow is clean & sober, remarried, runs a successful business & his kids are grown & have their own place in society. He is also a Committed Christian (Presbyterian). :thumbsup:
     
  13. JamesL

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    I think the original question and a few of the replies are off the rails a little.

    A couple of years ago, I really began to reflect on church attendance. It was after I went out of town to work at my brother's church for a week, then stay another week for vacation.

    What I noticed is that the people of his church don't "attend" church. They ARE the church. How can you attend yourself? The answer is - You can't.

    The church needs to stop referring to church as "attendance" and start emphasizing the Body of Christ.

    Many members, all with various functions. Bearing each others' burdens, becoming like brothers and sisters (because we are).
     
  14. Revmitchell

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    This is silly. What is meant by attending church is coming to corporate worship and any functions of the corporate body.
     
  15. prophet

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    I agree. This belief is the true belief.
    The church is my family.

    Yesterday, I had a church member over for Bible study at my house.
    I also gave another church family some help with a problem in their house (remodeling) and their paperwork for submission to insurance.
    The day before, a church family stopped by my house, and dropped off a few grocery items...milk, eggs, cheese...
    Another member called me to praise the Lord about his employer moving up his start date 2 weeks. We had prayed together corporately for weeks concerning this.
    Another family, who asked me to pray with them about finding a house, Sunday before last, were all excited when they got into their dream house...it really is nice! They had to call on a weekday to share this.

    This is our life.
    I'm not an officer in the church, I'm just an affiliated missionary.

    I don't "attend church", I assemble with my family.
     
  16. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    There is a fallacy in the reasoning of the Barna Group survey and in much of the commentary surrounding it. Two years ago, Ross Douthat wrote in The New York Times that the Presbyterian USA and Episcopalian conventions that year didn't "“seem to be offering anything you can’t already get from a purely secular liberalism.” In other words, why bother going to such a church when you can get more at the Rotary Club or your favorite sports bar? The same week, Gallup released a new poll showing that Americans have decreasing faith in organized religion as an institution.

    That doesn't accurately reflect what's going on in U.S. churches, though. The Big Unknown is the nondenominational and independent churches that are becoming focal points of worship in this nation. Hartford Institute for Religion Research found in 2010 that "over 35,000 independent or nondenominational churches representing more than 12,200,000 adherents. These churches are present in every state and in 2,663 out of the total of 3,033 counties in the country, or 88% of the total." That's an impressive number of church attendees in a significant segment of U.S. society.

    And they don't report their numbers. Why? Because they aren't affiliated in any way shape or form with any national association, convention, or organization. And Barna in particular, but also Gallup, don't bother counting them, because there is no easy way to do so.

    Americans are getting fed up with so-called "mainline Protestant churches." That doesn't include the Baptists denominations, folks, because whether you want to buy this or not, Baptists aren't Protestant. (If you want to argue, start yet another insipid thread on that subject.) The Baptist congregations in the SBC in particular, but also in some other variants of Baptist imperative churches, are holding steady, within a handful of percentage points of where they were 30 years ago, if not growing.

    The "mainline Protestants" are the ones preaching a message you can get in the aforementioned Rotary Club or sports bar. They aren't preaching the gospel and while it is often said on this board that the American people "just want their ears tickled," there is a significant number of them that aren't there yet, who want to hear the gospel of Christ, who want to hear from the pulpit how to live that gospel out, and who want to bring that message to their family, friends, and neighbors.

    The people interviewed in the Barna Group survey attend those "mainline" churches. Of course they don't attend more than once every four to six weeks. There's nothing to go to church for at those institutions! But there is at the Baptist churches, there is at the nondenominational churches, which surprisingly, according to Hartford Institute, are mostly led by Reformed, Evangelical Free, SBC or other conservative Baptist seminary pastors and staff.

    So accept a false conclusion and wring hands and cry "O woe is us," because of the lies if you wish. Or we can choose to serve the Lord, help our brothers and sisters get through the difficult times, lead the unbeliever to Christ, and do God's work, knowing there are churches to support them with the truth scattered all over the place, and willing to do the hard work.
     
    #16 thisnumbersdisconnected, Apr 11, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2014
  17. Thousand Hills

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    Not sure where to start with your post. But here goes.

    - I agree that "mainline denoms" are off course. Maybe a good thing that attendance is down there. They have left their first love, but, it should be a warning to the SBC and faithful Baptist churches as well. All I'm saying is lets be proactive rather than reactive. The OP was not to "bash" but what can we do better?

    -I'm assuming the author of the article in the original post got his information from this https://www.barna.org/barna-update/...ided-on-the-importance-of-church#.U0gbjItOWM8 He probably had the full research and what is online at Barna is only a snippet, regardless I don't see where they only interviewed folks from mainline denoms as you insist, it says all Americans.

    We've discussed this before and you continue to insist that everything is okay, no worries. Please give me your take on this blog post which includes stats from Lifeway. You did not get a chance to comment on it when I posted it in a now closed thread. http://sbcvoices.com/the-bleak-future-of-the-sbc/
     
  18. Thousand Hills

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    I tend to agree with what you are saying here. Is church a place we "go to" or a place we "go from"?
     
  19. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    I know it does, but Barna is biased, being a big supporter of the house-church movement. He knows he can get bleak numbers by slanting his surveys with responses only from those so-called "mainline churches." That's exactly what he does, and his results claim to paint a bleak picture for established churches in general, when he hasn't actually included a big portion of established churches or church-goers in his statistics.
    I realize there are those within the SBC who view its slow growth as predicting a "dire future" for the denomination. That fact is, out of all the denominations in the country, it is the only one actually growing. Slowly, yes, but it is growing in membership, though over the last few years, average attendance is down somewhat. Still, it is the only denomination that is gaining in affiliated churches -- i.e., there are more SBC churches. A great deal of the declining attendance is found in the definition of what constitutes "regular attendance." Gallup gives a narrow range that requires "regular" to be defined as "weekly." While that's ideal, it isn't the nature of today's churchgoer and that nature doesn't represent the apathy many -- and I'm thinking you are included in this grouup -- seem to believe it is.
     
  20. Thousand Hills

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    Okay, I remember this claim being made on another thread. If you want to stick to that assertion fine with me. I'll leave you with this Barna funny from the Sacred Sandwich http://sacredsandwich.com/archives/2309
     

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