How To Improve Baptist Church Attendance

Discussion in 'Fundamental Baptist Forum' started by XYiftah, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. XYiftah

    XYiftah
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    I know there is a controversy in regards to 'traditional' worship services and and the 'contemporary' services that according to statistics are attracting more people...primarily younger people.

    Yet I adhere to the idea that where the most go is not thereby proved to be the best place.

    When 'popularity' becomes the main criteria....truth goes out the window.

    It appears the 'big drawing' card in 'contemporary services' is the music. I have no problem with any music whose purpose is to Praise the Lord....but is that the real intent of those who get caught up in so called 'Christian Rock' music etc.

    I cannot prove it but I think many of those attracted to 'Contemporary Services' are more interested in the method than the message...they like music they can 'relate' to aka secular oriented music.

    Thus I am of the opinion that even though the 'contemporary services' are more popular...it may not be a good idea.

    The question for Baptist Churches seems to be...how can they draw more young people and remain true to the Gospel?

    First of all you need a Pastor who is truly interested in helping young people...who understands they are the future of the Church and need to be included in a real way and not just given lip service so to speak.

    Young people need a challenge, they need an opportunity to work, they need to feel they are involved in something important or relevant.

    Young people tend to be rebellious and questioning of the older generation...not a bad thing in and of itself....the Lord knows the older generation is not perfect, has made many mistakes and all too often has grown tired and complacent. Thus young people can be the 'spark' that makes a church vibrant and mission oriented ....aka spreading the gospel to the community.

    The 'resources' available to the various churches varies greatly depending on their size of course but having a viable attractive Church atmosphere for the young people does not mean one has to have a big budget, a youth director etc.

    What is needed is a few church members willing to work with the young people...to first of all make sure they are well grounded in the Gospel...this requires more than just a Sunday School Class once a week...there should be a youth meeting at least once a week also...taught by the pastor or others who have a good knowledge of the Bible. Special emphasis should be placed on Missionary Activity and how to talk to the lost...visitations should be set up, door to door canvassing should be organized etc.etc. once you get the young people involved and actually working for the Lord they will become much more motivated and much more willing to try and get their friends to come to church with them.

    Those of you who are veterans and experienced Combat know full well how that experience 'bonds' you with your fellow soldiers. Likewise....going out and doing missionary work in the community whilst not like 'combat' in most ways...in one way it is though........it will 'bond together' those young folk who confront the lost....they will be verbally attacked, made fun of etc.etc. trying experiences but it will make them stronger and closer to one another and the Lord...thus ---I think then you will see your Church attendance increase....because in these trying times....there is nothing more rewarding, challenging and relevant than bringing lost souls to the Light of the Truth...the Gospel of Jesus.
     
  2. XYiftah

    XYiftah
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    I know there is a controversy in regards to 'traditional' worship services and and the 'contemporary' services that according to statistics are attracting more people...primarily younger people.

    Yet I adhere to the idea that where the most go is not thereby proved to be the best place.

    When 'popularity' becomes the criteria....truth goes out the window.

    It appears the 'big drawing' card in 'contemporary services' is the music. I have no problem with any music whose purpose is to Praise the Lord....but is that the real intent of those who get caught up in so called 'Christian Rock' music etc.

    I cannot prove it but I think many of those attracted to 'Contemporary Services' are more interested in the method than the message...they like music they can 'relate' to aka secular oriented music.

    Thus I am of the opinion that even though the 'contemporary services' are more popular...it may not be a good idea.

    The question for Baptist Churches seems to be...how can they draw more young people and remain true to the Gospel?

    First of all you need a Pastor who is truly interested in helping young people...who understands they are the future of the Church and need to be included in a real way and not just given lip service so to speak.

    Young people need a challenge, they need an opportunity to work, they need to feel they are involved in something important or relevant.

    Young people tend to be rebellious and questioning of the older generation...not a bad thing in and of itself....the Lord knows the older generation is not perfect, has made many mistakes and all too often has grown tired and complacent. Thus young people can be the 'spark' that makes a church vibrant and mission oriented....aka spreading the gospel to the community.

    The 'resources' available to the various churches varies greatly depending on their size of course but having a viable attractive Church atmosphere for the young people does not mean one has to have a big budget, a youth director etc.

    What is needed is a few church members willing to work with the young people...to first of all make sure they are well grounded in the Gospel...this requires more than just a Sunday School Class once a week...there should be a youth meeting at least once a week also...taught by the pastor or others who have a good knowledge of the Bible. Special emphasis should be placed on Missionary Activity and how to talk to the lost...visitations should be set up, door to door canvassing should be organized etc.etc. once you get the young people involved and actually working for the Lord they will become much more motivated and much more willing to try and get their friends to come to church with them.

    Those of you who are veterans and experienced Combat know full well how that experience 'bonds' you with your fellow soldiers. Likewise....going out and doing missionary work in the community whilst not like 'combat' in most ways...in one way it is though........it will 'bond together' those young folk who confront the lost....they will be verbally attacked, made fun of etc.etc. trying experiences but it will make them stronger and closer to one another and the Lord...thus ---I think then you will see your Church attendance increase....because in these trying times....there is nothing more rewarding, challenging and relevant than bringing lost souls to the Light of the Truth...the Gospel of Jesus.
     
  3. Van

    Van
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    Just because something is popular does not mean it is godless. In the book of Acts, the "way" was very popular, and while not everyone attracted came based on repentance and faith, many did and were baptized.

    We must adorn the gospel in culturally relevant ways, just like Paul did teaching about the unknown God.

    Our society is becoming electronically isolated, picture a car with 3 people, not talking to each other but each locked into an electronic device. The 1950's had stay at home mom's meeting at someone's house sharing coffee and conversation has been supplanted. We must restore a sense of community before we can reach our neighbors.

    As Ben said, we must hang together or we will hang separately.
     
  4. SolaSaint

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    Your asking a question that has been asked numerous times and we all know of the failed programs like Purpose Driven and Willow Creek. I'm still an older timer I guess. I say preach it and they will come. If the Holy Spirit is working on young people they will be drawn to gospel. It will offend them by exposing their sin, but this is what they need to hear, not a rock concert with a emotional appeal to make Jesus part of their life. I could go on.

    I liked your last two paragraphs, this is what is needed. We have to get out to the youth, I think by using our youth. Not sure about door-to-door. But go

    to where they are at, get to know them, gain their trust and show your love for them by telling them the truths of scripture. If it is of God they will come.
     
  5. Revmitchell

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    Take Baptist out of the name.
     
  6. Mexdeaf

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    If you're going to stick with traditional, why stop at the 1950's? If riding a camel, wearing a robe and using a scroll for a Bible was good enough for Paul, why isn't it good enough for us?

    Ridiculous, isn't it?

    It is likewise as ridiculous to blame "contemporary" this or that, or this or that style of music for the stagnant growth of the majority of churches today.

    People young or old of today have the same needs people had 50 years ago but that doesn't mean the methods of 50 years ago are the best way to reach them.
     
  7. Oldtimer

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    In my opinion...............

    One of the big problems today is reflected both in politics and church life.

    The Bible and the Constitution are dusty old documents that aren't revelant in today's modern world.

    We have been conditioned to buy the "new and improved". Old fashioned homemade lye soap is just as effective for cleaning the body, dishes, and clothes today, as it was when my Grandmother made it. Very few today understand that, as they've been lured into believing that Dial, Irish Spring, or Yardley is better.

    Another example: In 1990 I bought a new car. Sold it for scrap 22 years later, when repair costs to continue to drive it equaled the scrap value. Over those years there was no need for me to seek "new and improved" vehicles. My "clunker" served me well without the bells and whistles of GPS, heated seats, and the latest audio/video carrots.

    Hillary Clinton has stated that she is a "modern progressive" which says in essence that the Constitution created at the founding of this republic is an old relic and the tradition associated with it no longer meets our needs in this "contemporary" world.

    Is there any difference between this view of the Constitution and the view being held with regards to the Bible and the church -- the body of Christ? In order to meet the needs of church members, we must be "modern progressives". We can't use lye soap because it isn't "new and improved". Clunkers can't be driven because they don't have heated seats and GPS.

    Yes, people have the same needs today that they did 50 years ago. At least, I do. The same ones I needed 60 years ago, when I was a teenager. Needs that evidently were not met by my church at that time. I drifted away, just as young folks are doing today. If I'd stayed because the church switched to Christian rock and roll I would not have been staying for the right reasons.

    Not long ago, I saw, within our own church an example of what I'm trying to say. During worship services we had a program to try to improve Sunday school attendance for people of all ages. Representatives of each age level had a couple of minutes to present their case. A group of about 10 year olds came to the front and stated why they liked Sunday school. The response from several of them was SNACKS.

    When I was a young person in church, refreshments were not a part of traditional routine Sunday services. Did the lack of them keep me from drifting away from the church. In a word NO. Is the modern contemporary use of them keeping young people in church. In a word NO. IMO, they are a detriment since apparently, based on the example above, focus on God has moved further away than when I was a child. While I was away from church, I still retained an understanding of the difference between being separated from the world and joining it. The values I held were not based on "new and improved", as evidenced by holding on to a clunker of a vehicle. And holding on to enough of the "traditional" church to hear the Holy Spirit when He called me back into His house of worship.

    Our Lord knows I don't have the answers. But, I do, with all my heart, believe that meeting the needs of the body of Christ doesn't lie in bringing the "contemporary world" into the church. When the emphasis is on snacks and musical entertainment there's even less not more reason for young people to stay in the church. As all of that is readily available without setting foot inside a church door.

    Folks, we should be looking back to "tradition" and inward to the Holy Spirit rather than forward and outward to "modern progressive" and "new and improved".

    Sorry, this is long and rambling. Sometimes it's hard to find the right words to convey an deeply held conviction about the direction we're heading in failing to put our Saviour squarely in the center of our lives, where He should reside, in order to give Him the glory. Thank you for listening.
     
    #7 Oldtimer, Nov 5, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2012
  8. Mexdeaf

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    I agree with the tenor of your post. Thanks for sharing your heart.
     
  9. drfuss

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    I think that the idea that going to contempory music does not necessarily improve attendance. There was a time when that was mostly true, but that phase may have run its course.

    About 5 years ago, our pastor decided to go contempory with the idea of increasing attendance. I have been keeping records and our attendance has dropped about 5%/year. There are three main problems that I see in this approach:

    1. To accommodate those who love traditional music, they have what they call a blended service in which they select a mixture of tradition and contempory songs; the problem is that they play both types songs to the loud irritating contempory beat. So they have only contempory music which most people don't like.

    2. One function of the music part of the service is to prepare the people for receiving the word. Having to sit through the contempory music makes people less receptive to the preaching. Many of us come late to miss the loud irritating contempory music, so we can be more receptive to the preaching of the Word.

    3. Most people in the church are hesitant to invite others to the church because they don't get anything out of the gathering themselves due to the music.

    The church attendance.is steadily going down hill.
     
  10. Van

    Van
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    Starting out with loud upbeat music is fine, but as the worship progresses, softer, more spiritual music is phased in to mesh with the theme of the sermon.

    But at the end of the day, folks who come to church to be served, rather than serve, have been less than receptive for some time. :)
     
  11. Mexdeaf

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    Just a thought- perhaps you are losing attendance to churches that have gone fully contemporary - or even the opposite. Has anyone contacted people to ask why they left and where they are going now? You may even find that music has nothing to do with the attendance drop.

    I remember going to a church a few (ok, MANY :laugh:) years back and we would have young married couples accept Christ, follow in baptism, and come for a while and then disappear. Found out that the reason was our nursery facilities were not "nice enough" for their kids - and they were right. We remodeled the nursery, bought new nursery furniture, and retrained the workers and that demographic improved.
     
  12. XYiftah

    XYiftah
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    Great post.
     
  13. drfuss

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    There is no doubt that some have left because of the contemporary music; they said so. Of course there may be other reasons too. My point is that we know of no new people coming to the church because of the loud contemporary music, which was supposed to be reason for going contemporary.

    Most people used to sing and participate in the service; now most people who attend the song part of the service just sit there and watch.
     
  14. nodak

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    My church also tried the rock and roll louder is better route, and got down to about 10 attending.

    Went back to traditional and saw the numbers rise.

    And where are the youth and young adults most weeks in our town?

    At the very traditional services without the praise team or band.
     
  15. jcgordon

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    What has changed?

    In all this we must ask what has changed? Has God? By no means has God changed but we have. There is such an ongoing attack on the church (as the Bible tells us there will be) "2Ti 3:1-7 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2) For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, (3) Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, (4) Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; (5) Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (6) For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, (7) Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

    Paul then gives us the answer "2Ti 4:1-5 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; (2) Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (3) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; (4) And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (5) But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."

    We are to preach God's Word it never comes back void. God will take care of the rest.
     
    #15 jcgordon, Dec 7, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2012
  16. Jkdbuck76

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    I'm sure "Amazing Grace" and "Just As I Am" were at one time "new" and "popular" and somebody turned their nose up at them, too.

    The real question is: does our worship lift up and exalt Christ?
     
  17. 12strings

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    -This sounds like a sad thing, but I don't think a GENERAL music style is the primary problem in any church.

    -I had much the same thought my junior year of college when it seemed that our friday Student-led Chapels seemed like they were more about putting on a show than about worshiping God...However the next year another young man became the worship leader, a man I happened to know, and who approached the whole thing with a very humble and servant-hearted mindset; and both I, and many students I talked to, noticed a real, tangible (and by tangible, I mean intangible) difference. It wasn't something I could put my finger on, because get this: THEY USED MOSTLY THE SAME MUSIC! Same instruments, lots of the same songs...I can't put my finger on it, but it was just better.

    -A church that has never done contemporary music is going to find it very difficult, most immediately because they will probably have trouble finding musicians who are comfortable playing it.
    -Doing new music badly is a sure way to drive people off...as is doing any music too loudly. On that note, an elderly lady at our church recently told me that our Drummer was the first drummer she had ever really appreciated, because the way he plays the drumset supports the rhythm of the music, but doesn't overpower it.
     
  18. Revmitchell

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    Take the name "Baptist" off of the sign and do not ever tell them you are Baptist. :rolleyes:
     
  19. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Really? dont you think thats deceptive Rev.
     
  20. Revmitchell

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    Welcome to tongue and cheek.
     

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