UNFRIENDLY BAPTISTS

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by hrhema, May 22, 2002.

  1. hrhema

    hrhema
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    Just wondering if this is a Oklahoma problem.

    When I have visited large Baptist churches in the area I live in they are totally unfriendly.
    No one greets you. People look at you like you are not wanted. If you try to be friendly they walk away. They turn their heads.

    Even the large church I attend only 20% of the people are friendly.

    I hesitate to bring visitors to the church I attend because they will be ignored basically and not made to feel welcome.

    Is this normal for large churches. I have spent most of my Christian life in churches under 400 people and they have always been much friendlier.
     
  2. Kathy

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    Is it normal? Absolutely not. Is it common? Unfortunately, yes.

    I attended and subsequently became a member of a very large southern Baptist church in Florida. I was there for nearly 4 years and never made one friend. I complained to my sister-in-law (she was a member too) and she told me to immerse myself in the church, to join lotz of activities. So I attended Sunday school religiously, went to all the socials, volunteered for the nursery, attended several church functions, and even joined the choir. I got nowhere and I started to think something was wrong with me. So my church attendance started to suffer until eventually I wasn't going at all. I prayed and prayed for revival in my life for over a year. I ended up moving to a small town in another state and still I prayed. Five months after moving here, I found my now home church. What a welcome surprise, they actually WANTED me around and WANTED to be my friend...

    So, that was my experience. I now know that it wasn't me, it was them. They didn't want to open the door to the clique and let someone new in. I wanted so bad to have new friends who believed what I believed but unfortunately, that didn't happen until last year. Praise God for TRUE godly people who SHOW the love of Christ to strangers!

    Kathy
    <><
     
  3. HankD

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    Sound doctrine and Christian fellowship are our measures of a local church.

    Doctrine is not a big difficulty here in the Puget Sound area of Washington but fellowship can be "closed" in some churches.
    We visited many Baptist churches when we first moved here.
    One church, just a few blocks away were very friendly with us when we walked in and later sent an envoy to visit us and welcome us to the area.
    It was an easy decision.

    HankD
     
  4. Jachgu

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    My church has about 150 people in it. I find them all extremely friendly, but I know others who say nobody is friendly. My wife and I know a particular person who thinks everyone is rude because they dont talk with her. It is strange we will create conversations involving this person and others and its seems to be she try's to sour the conversation.

    Anyway I think its large part current members problems..people should try to make people feel welcome. And our own ..we have to want to approach people on our own and be interested in them too.

    When I was ushering/greeting and talking to everyone. I made sure I put certain new people in contact with others who were most friendly. Topic starters with Topic carriers, shy people with kind caring people, loud mouths...well I kicked them out...just kidding. It really is a usher/greeter problem in the beginning. The more I think about it. In fact when I am not able to sit with my wife it is a standing order to sit people near my wife. She will show them the ropes [​IMG] help them with their bible or give them one. Show them the song sheets and such.
    That might just be the worst for a new christian. Singing out loud. Trying to find the songs on tag sheets and then referencing the hymnal songs in order. THEN SINGING IN FRONT OF PEOPLE YOU DONT KNOW, for a new unsaved person that can be overwhelming.

    Anyway If we dont get friendly with the newcomers the JW's and Mormons most certainly will. Dragging them all the way down.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Jachgu
     
  5. hrhema

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    The church I attend was at one time nearly 1500 strong now it barely shows 800. nearly lost half its size and I cannot figure why this does not bother the ministry staff.

    Person after person has said they left because of the uncaring, unwelcoming attitude of the people.
     
  6. Jachgu

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    I think the preacher needs to work this into the sermon or at least tell people in church to greet the new people and shake there hands or take them out to lunch. I have heard "take them out to lunch many times" I must admit I havent done that yet.

    Of course the preacher should visit the homes of those visiting. Makes them feel real good.

    Jachgu
     
  7. rsr

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    It's also true that many first-time (or second, or third) don't want to be set upon by a large congregation. Often they're just visiting and scoping out the church.
     
  8. donnA

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    Our chursh is the biggest in our small town with 150-200 in worship service each week. We've gotten comments abck from visitors(we send out a questioneer to visitors who fill out the visitor card in the bulletin to see how we are doing and what we need to do, and since we are near the interstate, and the next town over has abig tourism we get a lot of visitors), and mostly they tells us we are the friendliest church they've been in. Of course there are a few of the older people who still hate change, and aren't as friendly.
    Our last padtor last message was on Words that can kill a church,
    we've always done it that way, or we've never done it that way before. Becasue Baptist are notoriuos for not changing. You know orer of worship, time we meet, ect..
     
  9. hrhema

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    I have found that new visitors do react to the unfriendliness of a church. First impressions are lasting impressions and you usually cannot be changed.
     
  10. ddavis

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    Ours is small church of about 40 in Sunday morning service that was at one time running about 250 to 300 in the early 80’s. The church is very friendly but it is hard to compete with the larger sbc churches and 1 other ifb that have the crowds of 500 to 1500 in them especially in a town of only 12,000 people. Not to mention the indoor GYM and large Sunday school classes they have to draw the youth.
    We did visit the other ifb church and have talked to others that have gone to the larger scb churches, man its like you are waiting for the “lights, camera, action” to be said.
    With that said it is hard to get people in the doors when up against material items like those. I always thought it should be the love for the Lord and His Word. Maybe people are scared away from a small church because they think they may have to work where in a large church they can hide. I know you can go back and forth on the pros and cons.
     
  11. LadyEagle

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    Leadership....leadership....leadership!

    That's what it usually comes down to. It doesn't have anything to do with the size of the church, IMHO.

    I know of a BIG Baptist church who serves dinner every Weds night for the families of the church before all the Weds. night services and activities...a great way we met lots of people.

    Sunday School class socials: Great to go to, if the SS leadership promotes these get togethers.

    Another church I know of has a special dinner once a month at the church for "Newcomers" where visitors/new members are welcome to come...all you do is sign up to be there.

    Greeters at every entrance: People who make it a point to greet and get to know you when you attend.

    Follow-up on visitor's cards: Visitation and followup with invitation to special dinner or social for visitors and introduction to church activities and programs.

    Does the church have a web site with a feedback area? These are ideas that might be dropped into an email.

    Our church is small and everybody knows everybody and if you are missing, there is always a phone call or cards to be sure everything is all right. Sometimes, they will even go out looking for some of the older ladies in case there is a car breaking down, or something! There are a lot of advantages of belonging to a small church. But the Big Churches, Super Churches, have good points, too. It just depends on who is focused on the flock rather than the next building program, etc., IMHO! [​IMG]
     
  12. pawn raider

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    When I entered a church I held out my hand to shake the hand of a "greeter" and he turned away from me! Needless to say that was the last day I attended that church! When the pastor wanted to know why I stopped attending I wrote him a letter detailing what had happened. I never received a reply.
     
  13. LadyEagle

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    pawnr: Bummer! :(

    No reply? Like I said, "leadership." :(
     
  14. mesly

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    This is a very interesting topic. I too have noticed this very same behavior at various churches I have either attended on a regular basis or visited on occasion. I find it very strange that there seems to be a dichotomy between sound doctrine and friendliness. Why can't both exist together? I realize that this is a general statement, but in my experience, the churches that I would consider sound in doctrine (for me, that would be IFB, Hymns for music, KJV for scripture, etc.) seem to be very unfriendly. The churches who are doing just the opposite of that, are very friendly. There are exceptions, but for the most part, this has been what I have found.

    Is there such a thing as the doctrine of fellowship? It might be an interesting study.
     
  15. Michael C. Lewis

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    Hi Guys,
    After reading the previous posts, I tend to agree with the idea that it falls on church leadership to oversee the welcome wagon. And as it's already been stated, "first impressions" are extremely important to church visitors.

    We are to show the love of Christ, not just preach it!

    It's a shame that some churches don't exude the love for the brethren they should.

    But . . . I will have to say that some people won't be satisfied, no matter how well you treat them. Human nature.

    In Christ,
    Mike
     
  16. wayne0214

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    Since this topic is being discussed, it brings out some experiences to relate that I would otherwise keep silent about. Baptist churches and their pastors are the only demominations that have asked me personally to leave or, do not visit anymore! And I am not the only one who has encountered this anti-Christian sentiment. We have in our ranks a missionary family to Northern Ireland, of which the wife also related to me a like experience with the same denomination in her younger years. I do not understand such an arrogant attitude, because we will all stand before the judgement seat of Christ Jesus and give an account of ourselves. After being so treated by more than one Baptist congregation, personally, "I would't be found dead in a Baptist church," and I don't believe my Sister in Christ would be either. And furthermore, I often wonder how many of these "Baptists" are part and parcel of the parable of the tares of Jesus in Matt. 13:24-30.

    ............wayne
     
  17. DocCas

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    Wayne, if you are not a Baptist, please obey the rules and cease posting in the BAPTIST ONLY Forums.

    Thank you.
    Thomas Cassidy
    Baptist Board Administrator
     
  18. longshot

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    So it seems there is a corralation between the size and the friendliness of the church. I cannot speak from experience because I have never attended a large (500-1000) member church. What would be the advantages?
    I think your former pastor became our DOM. We are growing and got the same sermon when our pastor was on vacation. He just came in from Kentucky. We just went to split services because of space limitations and the message was timely.
     
  19. Dr. Bob

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    Just sent out 5 letters today to families who visited my church on Sunday and filled out the card.

    While it is a canned message, I always add a "p.s." to it, with a comment about the service or something unusual that happened.

    Since I do not believe in the pastor standing at the door and having everyone shake hands as they leave (and they had BETTER tell him what a great sermon that was, etc) I did not meet them.

    Asked our head usher and he vaguely remembers any visitors (two had families of children). Now, between SS and Church we have 30 minutes of fellowship - coffee, juice, danish, cookies, etc and the noise level is deafening. Folks just LOVE to visit with each other.

    Nobody seemed that interested in the visiting families.

    I doubt that any of these families will ever return to our church again. We are "friendly", but to EACH OTHER, not to strangers.
     
  20. hrhema

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    I think that how friendly a church is to visitors is important part of outreach. If the church has no personality and ignores visitors why would you want to waste your time bringing them to the church.
     

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