Why do you suppose people are Not going to church?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Sherrie, Apr 22, 2003.

  1. Sherrie

    Sherrie
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    Why do you suppose people are Not going to church?

    I do not always think it is because they do not know Jesus, or that they are deliberately are being disobedient. (I think there are some who do not know the Lord) but I think their are some other circumstances.

    I was telling a friend, Easter is the time of the year when the churches fill up the most. It is the one time people come out of the wood work to go. It is more than any other time of the year. Why?

    If you knew the reason you would change it. I have heard people say this a million times. So if it is talked out and you could see where some things could be changed, would attendance go up?

    Here are some excuses I have heard:

    1.) The richer ones in the church ignore the poorer ones, or make the poorer one feel less, or exclude the poorer ones from a lot, or have outings and projects that not all poorer people can afford. Programs at church are for the richer ones. Money talks in the church.

    2.) Too much is spent on what is worn at church and not focusing on the worship.

    3.) Any form of Bible study leaves a lot to be desired.

    4.) More interested in the program and not the people.

    5.) groups and shunning going on.

    These are just a few of things I have heard. There are plenty more. now I am sure there are a lot that say well, if you don't like it, or its been this way, but it does not change the fact people are not going to church.

    How are some ways we can change things? Not just the Pastor, or Deacons, or Sunday School classes, but all the members. What can everyone do, to change something about getting someone coming to church?

    Sherrie
     
  2. Preacher Nathan Knight

    Preacher Nathan Knight
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    I think the best way to get people in the church is to stick with the Gospel. If that doesnt work then nothing else will. If you use elaborate trips or rock bands, etc. then they will not be there for the right reason and are less likely to be hearers of the word. If the Gospel dont get them they cant be gotten.
     
  3. Gina B

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    A lot of it is excuses. I know that sounds like a "pat answer", but it's the truth.
    I got into an argument with a non-Christian friend of mine recently and she said "you're just like everyone else, a hypocrite. THIS is why I don't go to church and all that anymore".
    My answer? Nope, when you act like an idiot I'm going to tell you so and you're problems with church and God are your own fault. I think a lot of non-Christians expect Christians to let themselves be used and used and to never get upset or be human, and if they show any measure of either they jump on it and say SEEEEEEEEE!! It's just another way to avoid dealing with their own spiritual issues, blame it on everyone but themselves.

    I've seen Christians refuse to go and half the time it's along the same reasoning, or they can't find a church they agree with. I've done that myself, and realized that I was judging and expecting it to be my perfect vision of what church should be. Instead of listening to see what I could get out of it I listened to see what they were saying wrong.
    Now there WERE a few churches I visited that nobody should join. Never join one with false standards or act like cults, but on the other hand don't be quick to label them false over any and every small matter and don't expect to agree on everything anyhow because it just doesn't happen!

    I'm not saying there isn't a problem in some churches with bad leadership or members that are snobby or places that focus on money, but it's not impossible to find a church to attend and everywhere has some hypocrites. If one truly lacks a church in their area then they need to start one.

    The latest thing I heard was kinda funny but also sad. Two people in a church were talking about Awana, when unsaved kids come in, and worried about letting them come because of the influence on their Christian children. One said to the one with the concern "yep, I know what you mean. My kid got mixed up with them and she's still out running with them today". They talked a little, and I asked if their kids went to public school. Yep. Yet somehow spending six and a half hours every day with these same kids, Monday-Friday, from September until June, wasn't responsible but one and a half hours on Wednesday nights in a church setting and under church leadership for a few months out of the year WAS? Now what kind of influence is that kind of attitude going to have on the unsaved if suddenly the church is to good for them?

    So yeah, both sides share blame, but in the end it's the individual who refuses to try or to change things, no matter what the excuse, who's going to answer for it, not the people they're blaming.

    Gina
     
  4. donnA

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    Easter time they fill up becasue of visiting family. Those people usualy go to church whereever it is they live. And then there are those few who thing they are doing the holy thing by showing up on Easter and Christmas.
    There are also a lot of christians who no longer go to church. I have found that for these people church is 'me' centered and not God centered. They want to know what church can do for them, what are they going to get out of it, they have a long list of what it takes to make a church perfect for them and if a church does not meet that list they aren't going. Problem is they never find a church that does.
     
  5. Sherrie

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    Gina I have heard this one too...and I think people seem to think people who are christians aren't suppose to have faults.

    But I also think it is so beautiful when you actually can see someone around you grow from a mistake they have made, and they just mature in their relationship with God.

    Maybe thats one thing people should see.

    Sherrie
     
  6. uhdum

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    Actually, I believe it stems from the fact that we as Christians (including myself) do not give people reason to go to church. We walk in church, do our thing, then walk out the door and deny him by our lifestyle. I pray that no one else experiences that but I find myself living somewhat hypocritically every day and I try my best to serve the Lord.

    While I disagree with PNK's shot at "rock bands" in his post in this thread, I do agree that the Gospel will draw people to Christ. The question is, are we going to lead them AWAY from Christ?
     
  7. Headcoveredlady

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    I agree with you here. I have heard this too, that many do not see much of a difference from the way many Christians live and those who are unsaved. I have heard them say, "Why should I become a Christian, you are no different than me, you live exactly the way I do."
     
  8. Johnv

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    When I was in college, I didn't have a church home, and had gone to a lot of churches. One thing I noticed was that there are A LOT of churches that preach "hell fire and brimstone". I was quite turned off by this method of preaching, because there was no sense of God's love, only God's wrath. The number of pulpits whose main focus was God being a God of love, and Jesus being a giver, were a minority.

    I think a lot of unchurched folks are turned off because they're not hearing about the God of love.
     
  9. donnA

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    I agree with you here. I have heard this too, that many do not see much of a difference from the way many Christians live and those who are unsaved. I have heard them say, "Why should I become a Christian, you are no different than me, you live exactly the way I do." </font>[/QUOTE]That was exactly what I said on the alchol thread.
     
  10. Sherrie

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    Johnv...I agree...I think some churches are like you say. I think there has to be a balance.

    I think the way we live, should show someone who does not know God, something about Him. I am not saying we are perfect. But I know I keep going back to Living Stones, but that is how we are to be. We are suppose to show everyone what all God's done in our lives. And the first thing that is, He gave his Son for us. We are forgiven of our sins. We are not to live our lives like sinners.

    But how does all that get those that won't come to church to come?

    Why does the little bit of negetivity stick out like a sore thumb and all the positive is just over looked?


    I agree we need the Gospel. Thats a first. Without Jesus Christ there is no Church.

    Sherrie
     
  11. Helen

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    Barry and I have noticed something heartbreaking in the churches we have visited -- actually we have noticed a few things. These might have some bearing on this issue of not going to church:

    1. Loud music/entertainment-style -- no matter how good the sermon is, if your ears are ringing still from the amps during the music, you are unlikely to return.

    2. Always milk, no meat -- when you get to the point that you seem to know more Bible than the minister, who is always preaching (it seems) to the unsaved, it gets a little much.

    3. Popular churches so large you get lost in them and don't know most of the people there. At this point it becomes more like something you observe in a seat rather that some place where you go to worship with brothers and sisters in the Lord. We have seen some very effective ways a couple of large churches have gotten a handle on this problem and been able to deal with it, but it can still be a problem.

    4. The more Pentecostal-oriented the church, the friendlier the people seem. I hate to say this, but most of the Baptist churches we have been invited to speak in (either at a meeting before or, sometimes Barry is invited to speak from the pulpit), have a sense of unfriendliness about them unless you are 'somebody.' Sometimes it seems as harsh as some of the events on this Baptist Board, where if you don't agree with this or that person, you are ignored or put down.

    5. The pastor has forgotten the Bible or uses it only as back-up for his own agenda in teaching.

    6. Lack of heart or facilities for folks who are different. Most of you know we have a profoundly retarded eighteen year old son. I use us simply because I don't want to involve others, but we are one of many who have been asked by various churches at various times NOT to bring the 'different' person to church because they are simply not 'equipped' for it. When all my kids were at home, we would take turns staying home with Chris. Now, even Bianca, our youngest, is going off to Bible school in New Zealand in July and that will leave me alone with Chris while Barry is gone and the three of us alone when he is here. So we have a very difficult time going to church. Oh, the Mormons have facilities for us.... [​IMG] . They have wonderful facilities for the deaf and blind, too. Most other churches don't. I do know families with children who have cystic fibrosis, Tourette's syndrome, and other problems who are simply not welcome in straight-preaching, Bible-believing churches.

    ----------

    Those are a few reasons aside from the standard ones which probably center around a lack of interest or the perceived hypocrisy of the people or the pastor...

    There is also the point that a number of Christian tradesmen and businesspersons in different communities who advertise with the fish symbol or the cross are known to be the least reliable and the most likely to be borderline unethical. This is not a good advertisement for church or for Jesus!

    I just asked Barry why he thought people did not like to go to church and he brought up another point:

    People are afraid they might hear something the Lord would require of them that they don't want to do. They are avoiding moral responsibility.

    also: Some people might be loathe to be seen in a church where someone they are enemies with is attending!
     
  12. tyndale1946

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    I agree with what Barry added... And it brings to mind the story of the ministers sermon. He asked a member of the congregation what they thought of the sermon... The sermon was fine... It's when you started stepping on toes... That's when I lost interest.

    Somebody better quote that brother or sister II Timothy 3:16-17... Or do we go to church just to hear feel good sermons?... Preach the whole counsel of God [​IMG] ... Brother Glen [​IMG] & [​IMG] Sister Charlotte [​IMG]
     
  13. Johnv

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    Or do we go to church just to hear feel good sermons?

    Depends. Nothing wrong with the occaisional "feel good" sermon. The Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount, the mest examples, are feel good sermons. And let's face it. Easter is definitely a "feel good" day in church. Plus, depending on the church's budget, the decor in the church usually "smells good".
     
  14. Thankful

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    When I read this type of thread, it always makes me thankful for my church. I don't see these things in our church, but then I stop and think...it is small church, if it is as great as I think it is, why is there not standing room only on Sunday mornings??????

    I did sit through a Vacation Bible School evening service once and the music was so loud that my ears were ringing when I left. I promised myself that I would not sit through a service like that again. Others must have made that same promise because the last youth service started out loud, but our 90 year old deacon told the sound person to turn down the volume. When that man speaks, everyone listens. ;)
     
  15. Jim1999

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    Maybe we should run commercials every ten minutes to make people feel at home.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  16. stubbornkelly

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    I pretty much agree with most of the things already said here.

    But I wanted to touch on this point of Helen's:

    I've noticed that, too. I mean, you take 500 families, and the likelihood is that more than a few of the people are going to have physical or developmental differences, yet when I go to my parents' church, I don't see much 'evidence' of that. There is one family whose daughter is profoundly retarded. She's non-verbal, and spends a lot of the down time at the church just standing around by herself. When I was in middle school, she was in my Sunday school class, mainly for her to have a place to go. It's not as though her family isn't welcomed, they are, but no one really knows what to do with Shawna. She's always been there, and she mostly just gets ignored.

    There have been a few people with physical disabilities, but mostly adults. The church used to have a huge ramp in the middle of the foyer (it was a focal point, and curved attractively to the top), but they remodeled and got rid of it. Yes, they installed an elevator, but come on, you have to go some out of the way place to use it. That's the way of it with many entrance ramps, too, they're around the back. How welcoming. :mad: It used to be really nice to have everyone able to go up the ramp to and from Sunday school, everyone together. Even for those not in wheelchairs, but with some mobility problems, it was much better than stairs because it was simply a gentle incline. Now they have to go around back to the elevator, too. But hey, the foyer looks "prettier."

    Is that an "excuse?" Maybe. But spiritual reasons aside, I think most people want to go to a church that actually thinks about the limitations of its family members, and not just as an afterthought.

    This issue really gets me, in case you couldn't tell. My college, wonderful as it was, was extremely limited in its accessability. My friend Ian couldn't go see his advisor because the building had no elevator. There were some classrooms he could not get to. And visiting friends in the dormitories? Forget it. Although, he did, on occasion, crawl up the stairs and drag himself down the hall. :(

    Perhaps the physical boundaries at some churches are not that bad, but emotional stairs can be just as hard to climb.
     
  17. Anthro

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    Let me state emphatically that the reasons have nothing to do with facilties. People will deal with imperfect faciities if the more important matters are there.

    In another thread an apparently new pastor/preacher was talking about preaching. What I advised him gets to the heart of why I feel so many people care little for church:

    I stated,

    Try to bunk the old monologue, remnant from Catholicism, pastor up-high in the pulpit sermon sometime for a more participatory, down by their feet approach (literally and figuratively).

    While being well-prepared, just have a good conversation with others, while also allowing them to throughout question and--horror of horrors--challenge you and share publicly with all as they feel God has shown them. A wandering microphone and mic-man is useful.

    Alternatively, give a 10 or so minute framing sermon, then open the floor. Follow it with 10 or so minutes to close the "sermon."

    Or some combination of the two.

    Yes, even with several hundred people or more.

    Save the monologue sermons for when you have very certain God-inspired messages that are the special words-for-the moment from God for your flock; say, once every other month or so. Note very well that you will only best know these if the preceding approach is taken.

    By taking this approach, you will be utterly amazed at how people begin to quickly feel like more than passive sheep...and actually begin to very broadly act like it over time, develop their varying gifts like never before, and deeply "buy into" the church's vision, because they themselves have participatorily helped create it all along.

    2Ti 4:2 Preach the message; be urgent in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching.

    This passage is not at all subverted by the approach I am talking about. It is us who read that as "preach the message in a monolithic sermon most every time the flock gathers week-by-week." That goes beyond the text, and reads into it.

    Try this approach. A world that awaits to be shaken by the Message of Christ by the Body of Christ is what is at stake. You can help facilitate the shaking by this sort of facilitative leadership.

    I speak with you--with you, not to you--oh, how that is such a key--from not only Scripture, but experience. Painful, hard and well-learned, and ultimately successful experience.

    Try it.


    Also see:

    http://www.solidrock.net/library/anderson/essays/discovering.interactive.teaching.php

    http://www.solidrock.net/library/anderson/essays/discovering.the.purpose.of.church.meetings.php

    http://www.solidrock.net/library/anderson/essays/discovering.participatory.church.meetings.php

    http://www.solidrock.net/library/anderson/essays/mbf.change.php

    [ April 22, 2003, 04:59 PM: Message edited by: Anthro ]
     
  18. Istherenotacause

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    6. Lack of heart or facilities for folks who are different. Most of you know we have a profoundly retarded eighteen year old son. I use us simply because I don't want to involve others, but we are one of many who have been asked by various churches at various times NOT to bring the 'different' person to church because they are simply not 'equipped' for it. When all my kids were at home, we would take turns staying home with Chris. Now, even Bianca, our youngest, is going off to Bible school in New Zealand in July and that will leave me alone with Chris while Barry is gone and the three of us alone when he is here. So we have a very difficult time going to church. Oh, the Mormons have facilities for us.... . They have wonderful facilities for the deaf and blind, too. Most other churches don't. I do know families with children who have cystic fibrosis, Tourette's syndrome, and other problems who are simply not welcome in straight-preaching, Bible-believing churches.


    That is really sad about "churches" that people would even call themselves Christian who say things like this about those in your situation. [​IMG]

    We have a couple of members with children in that type of situation, but never has it been considered an inconveniece for them to come.

    By the way, considering the laws governing handi-cap access, every church building is to be thus equipped, if it's not, some one needs to call the local fire cheif. He's the authority over handi-cap accessibilty in all public buildings, including all church buildings. :mad: (That the fire cheif isn't doing his job, if that is the case)

    I do know this one lady who feels she might have a "problem" with her son in the public domain. She is 74 and her son is now 51. Michael is his name and he has the mentality of a 6 year old, his mother says. I've been to their house several times, and I've never seen anything that would substantiate her excuse, but then again I don't really know. I do know he is rather a happy child and says he knows he's saved! [​IMG]

    As a Baptist, I suppose what is also saddening by your post is that the mormons have facilities and other "supposed" churches for the most part don't. I would have to say it probably is a "preference" problem on their part than anything else, and that is really SAD! I'm sure you know that they are just uncomfortable and don't know how to deal with it, or just don't want to, and what a shame and disgrace before Almighty God that is!

    Pray earnestly for those churches, and if I could, I would apologise for them, but there is no apology for that, so I would have to dis-associate with any church I knew held that attitude.

    In Christ,

    Brother Ricky
     
  19. Johnv

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    As a Baptist, I suppose what is also saddening by your post is that the mormons have facilities and other "supposed" churches for the most part don't.

    There's a reason for this. One of the greatest values in the LDS church is taking care of your neighbors, starting with your own congregation. You won't find a homeless mormon family, or a hungry one. Same with the Jewish congregations.

    While we differ greatly on doctrine from these groups, we Baptists could learn a lesson on the practicing of the Golden Rule from them.
     
  20. Tim

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    IMHO there's too much emphasis on church buildings, meetings and activities--not enough emphasis on loving, life-changing relationships outside the building, not as official activities but just because we love God and each other.

    Maybe if people saw that our Christianity really worked from Monday through Saturday, they'd be more interested in going on Sunday.

    That's a challenge for all of us,

    Tim
     

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