When churches jump the shark

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by gb93433, Jun 2, 2010.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    When does a church “jump the shark?” That phrase refers to the time Fonzi, the star of the TV comedy “Happy Days,” jumped a shark (literally) and has served as an example of a TV show that tries something strange to boost sagging ratings.

    I wonder if many churches are trying to “pack the house” by doing the same thing? I’m reminded of the story from the life of fundamentalist Baptist preacher J. Frank Norris about the time he baptized a rodeo cowboy and had the man’s horse stand in the back of the church to watch. Personally I believe he jumped the shark long before the cowboy baptism, but today it seems many churches -- in the desire to be innovative and creative -- are jumping their own sharks.

    Ed Young Jr. recently hosted a “Car give away extravaganza.” Young gave away 13 cars on Mother’s Day. Some were for the needy and others were random drawings. I’m not against the idea of helping women in this way, but listening to the clip it sounded just like an episode of Oprah Winfrey. He announced it with the excitement of a talk show and the crowd (congregation) responded with cheers.

    The rest of the story is at http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/5199/9/
     
  2. sag38

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    Personally, I'm praying for an Acts 2 display from God. No, I'm not looking for a copy cat type of thing. But, I do know that when the Holy Spirit puts on a show He can draw a crowd like no one else can.
     
  3. SBCJen

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    We have a local Southern Baptist Church that the local association helped get started a few years ago. First of all, they don't call themselves blank Baptist Church, they are blank "Community" Church. Nothing wrong with the name, but, to me, I see it as a way of intentionally misleading people into thinking it's a non-denominational type church. But, here's what gets me... now, I'm not the most conservative kid on the block by any means, but for Halloween, they played Halloween music and had the kids parade in in their Halloween costumes which consisted of witches, ghosts, etc.... all during a SUNDAY morning service. They have also been known to play Rock music (not Christian Rock) during Sunday morning services. They have opened a Sunday service with the song "Born to Be Wild". In my opinion, this is all more for seat filling than worshiping God. But, that's just me.

    (I don't have anything against Halloween costumes and Rock music, I just don't think they belong in a Sunday morning worship service.)
     
    #3 SBCJen, Jun 2, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2010
  4. SolaSaint

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    Sadly this type of marketing the gospel is very popular. I see it in SBC churches and many other denominations as well. Ed Young Jr. is probably the the biggest at it. But what is worse is when they gather the great crowds they want they usually fail to preach the gospel and sell their easy believism instead.
     
  5. Cutter

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    The lengths that churches will go to to reach the level of coolness that they think is necessary to reach the young, new age crowd is pathetic. If churches would become more interested in seeing the world converted instead of patronized, maybe we could see more lost souls being saved. :BangHead:
     
  6. Tom Butler

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    "Marketing" of churches has been going on for decades. Nothing new here.

    They seem to forget that whatever they do to get 'em, they have to keep doing to keep 'em.

    If getting a crowd is your goal, you can do it by any of a bunch of methods. Once you go down that road, very little will be off-limits.

    Someone might say, "ah, Tom, you're just jealous because your church is small and aging."

    Oh, I admit that I'd like to see every seat filled in every service. But my pastor preaches the Word of God faithfully. Our teachers teach the scriptures faithfully. Our church reaches out to the unchurched.

    And God sends people our way that we can minister to.

    I keep telling God to send us more yuppies, and couples with kids. He keeps telling me, "you be faithful to the Great Commission, and let me handle the rest."

    Well, God didn't exactly tell me that, but that's what i believe.

    Jesus said "I'll build my church." MY church, he said. I'LL build it.

    If size measure's success, my church does't measure up. But God has given us a group of believers who love Him and each other; a church without conflict of any kind; a church which has no debt; a church whose members give generously; and a church whose worship services are simple but truly worshipful.

    Hmm, a church with no cliques or power structure; a church whose deacons have a servant mentality. a church where our pastor is greatly loved; a church where they don't beg for money from the pulpit.

    But we're not growing. And we can't afford to give away a car. I guess we're just out of luck.
     
  7. Crabtownboy

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    I wonder what is being criticized today, that is new, but will become standard practice for churches in the future. When the first Sunday School was begun in England there were howls of protest over this new liberal idea.

    I do think some churches go too far. I do not like the modern little fluff ditties that are sung in many churches. I am not fond of churches that are known for what they are against but not for what they are for.

    Just a few random thoughts.
     
  8. blackbird

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    I'm gonna "DITTO" Brother Tom on this one!!! Sometimes I think it would be great to pastor a church where every pew was filled like Tom described----but then again----if I did---it would be ME having to give away cars, boats, memberships to gyms, shotguns and whatever else----but I'm like the late, great Dr. R G Lee----I'd rather preach the gospel for free!!!!:type:
     
  9. Thinkingstuff

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    I saw a church give a fencing demonstration to make it more appealing to people. Seemed silly to me.
     
  10. Cutter

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    I thought Baptists were pretty good at building fences already. :smilewinkgrin:
     
  11. Tom Butler

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    I don't mean to imply that believers should do nothing. Personal witnessing, outreach to the unchurched are not optional for believers. The Great Commission does not tell us to sit on our hands.

    But a lot of marketing gimmicks seem to imply that the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with converting sinners, or is powerless to do anything without our help.
     
  12. Tom Bryant

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    We are acting as if this is a new phenomenon. Bus ministries have been giving away bikes and other stuff for years and years.

    Churches used to have special Sunday just for particular kinds of people. I know of a church that had a "Mason Sunday" every year.
     
  13. sag38

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    Having special emphaisis are one thing. A dog and pony show is another. Dog and pony shows require continual upgrades to keep the crowds coming back to see what's new.
     
  14. Jon-Marc

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    I don't like theatrics in a church. We are there to edify one another and to praise and worship the Lord--not to put on a show to entertain people.
     
  15. nodak

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    I won't tell you who my dh used to drill oil wells for if you don't ask me to clean up the gulf. (And they are, compared to most large companies, far more caring about the environment and people and use better business practices than many. This is about business theory, not any specific company.)

    That is relevant to this discussion for this reason:

    In the late 1980's and early 1990's the business leadership model being touted in major corps of various kinds was "accountability."

    So far so good. For a company, accountability COULD be providing an excellent product at a reasonable price while treating employees, clients,peers, and customers with ethical dealings.

    Instead, it became ALL about the bottom line. Your production could drop off due to declining downhole supply (well pumping dry) and it didn't matter. Your bottom line was less barrels or fewer mcf so it MUST BE YOUR FAULT.

    Unfortunately, by the late 1990's that thinking had seeped into the church, which now looks spiritually like a gulf marsh that has been hit with you know who's gushing you know what.

    So instead of GOOD accountability in the church (number of visitations, account of how many got saved, how many marriages mended, how many read their Bible daily, how many times an individual or pastor specifically witnessed to someone) we have embraced bottom line accountability.

    If it puts butts in pew and bucks in the plate, its got to be good. If not, it has to be bad.

    No, Tom Butler has it right. A church should be accountable to preach, pray, and sing the truth from God's Word. It should live it out in changed and cleansed lives. It IS accountable to be obedient to God.

    And if that makes it a mega church of 50,000, well, praise God!

    But if the lost cannot stomach the truth and it is a church of 5, well, PRAISE GOD.

    Only He can add to His church those He draws.

    And we are fools for thinking we can do His job!
     
  16. just-want-peace

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    This is the whole thing in a nutshell!!!!:godisgood:
     
  17. Dr. Bob

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    Numbers are the measure of success in churches today. And most other businesses, too.

    Sadly, we've forgotten the church service is a safe haven for believers to come and worship, learn, grow, fellowship and not a circus to draw in every Thomas, Richard or Harold.

    We are to leave the sanctuary of the church and go into the world to share the Gospel, not bring the pagans in to despoil the Bride. We have a church here that is trying (not suceeding) to use gimmicks and the proverbial dog-and-pony to get numbers. They equate that somehow with evangelism. Get 'em to church and let the professionals get 'em down the aisle and into the tank.

    What a silly and warped view of God's church.
     
  18. SolaSaint

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    Amen, Dr. Bob:thumbs:
     
  19. Tom Butler

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    Dr. Bob, I may have missed one, but I don't recall finding a single recorded conversion in the NT was inside a church meeting at the time.
     
  20. Mississippi John

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