Tag: church

Advertising Your Church

Let’s consider how to grow your church. If you run your business like we run most churches, it would probably be flat and dying. For the most part, churches count on word of mouth only to increase members. Let’s look at some ideas:

  1. Why would anyone want to come to your church? What makes it stand out different from neighboring churches? Do you have anything special to offer?
  2. Who do you want to reach – down and out sinners or easy care already saved Christians? Poor and needy souls or wealthy and giving independents?
  3. Do you really want more people or do you need more money to meet the budget?
  4. Young people, old people, children, families, bikers, hippies? Who do you want to attract?

Ok. How’s that going? Do you know who you want to reach?

Let’s look at some tag lines:

  1. “Brand new pipe organ and choir.”
  2. “Worship band. We’ll get you moving. Bring your earplugs.”
  3. “Padded Seats.”
  4. “Dynamic Children’s Ministry.”
  5. “Free Coffee.”
  6. “Hip Cafe.”
  7. “Mom’s Group and Men’s Ministry.”
  8. “Air Conditioned.’
  9. “Free Wi-fi – you can check Facebook if the sermon is boring.”
  10. “Plenty of off-street Parking.”
  11. “You can give your tithe on-line.” – you may not want to start with that one.
  12.  “Come as you are. Shorts, ripped jeans, t-shirts are welcome. Our pastor is a slob too.”
  13. “We care about appearance – Dresses and Suits required.”

Try thinking out of the box. Personally, I like the padded seats and free coffee.

Next, you will need to set a budget.

  1. Let’s say you want to spend $100,000 a year in advertising. You are hoping to get new members that make an average of $50,000 a year and that tithe faithfully.  You will need 20 new members a year to pay for the advertising. You don’t want to hurt your ministry projects so you really need to get that money flowing. It kind of cuts out the down and outers though.
  2. Will you advertise on TV? Newspaper?

Last of all. Will you hire an agent who builds a campaign or do it in house?

This is a lot to think about. How will you sell your church?

Mark 13:10
And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.
Childcup

 

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Church Hopper or Glued on Pew?

Let’s take a test. Are you a church hopper, glued on pew (will you die in the same church you were born in?), or do you make adjustments as God or your heart leads you?

Here’s a statistic: 13 percent have been attending their current congregation for less than a year. Another 16 percent have been at their current church for one to two years, 11 percent for three to four years, 18 percent for five to nine years, 16 percent for 10 to 19 years, and 26 percent for two decades or longer.

People who are 55 or older are particularly likely to be longtime participants in the same church, with a median length of attendance of 15 years.

Lutheran and Presbyterian denominations are particularly likely to have people attending the same church for years and years; the median length of attendance among Lutherans is 12.5 years, while it is 10.6 years for Presbyterian congregations. Nondenominational churches (median of 3.9 years) and Pentecostal/charismatic denominations (median of 5.0 years) are among those with the shortest time of attendance.

https://baptistcourier.com/2007/02/church-loyalty-reflects-length-of-membership/

The definition of a church-hopper in Urban Dictionary is:  A church-hopper is an attendant of different churches who avoids church accountability groups because of rejectionembarrassment, hostility, and control.

I don’t know if that is totally true. I know people who hop just because they get bored. I do know that most of them say “God led us to another congregation”.  I don’t know why God leads some people to different congregations but I guess it’s possible.

On the other hand, I know people who were born at a church, baptized in the same church, married in the same church and they will die in the same church. Not saying there is anything wrong with that, it just makes me scratch my head at times.  If they are happy and God doesn’t lead them away then I guess they should stay.

Most of us are in the middle. We change churches when we move or get married, change in life – (for example we have children and we want a church that has better children’s ministry), our worship style changes, our church’s worship style changes, leadership changes, etc.

I don’t know if there are any right and wrong answers. I’m just curious. How many times have you changed churches? Looking back, were those changes positive or negative? Would you do them again? Were they for good reasons or bad reasons? Did you change because you were hurt? – oh! there’s a touchy one! I bet you’re angry now! It’s ok. You can vent.

Here’s a bigger question. WWJD. Would Jesus hop churches or stay in one place his whole life? Would he attend yours? Would you leave if he did? Would your elders accept him? Would he accept your elders? Would he be allowed to preach on a Sunday morning? Would he dress right? C’mon. Think about it.

Matthew 21:12
Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.

 

Christian Scum

You have just enjoyed a nice hot shower and you’re off to work.  Little do you know that a nasty reminder of that shower is lingering on your shower walls and will remain there until it is cleaned off.  Over time, that reminder will build up a nasty film called soap scum and will make your shower look awful and may even help to attract mildew, mold and bacteria.   You may not shutter to step back into your own scum covered shower but you probably don’t want to enter another person’s scum.  Right?  If you go to a hotel and the shower is covered in soap scum, you probably wouldn’t get in.  Even if it doesn’t hurt you, it’s nasty.

Funny thing about soap scum . . it’s left over soap – the exact same stuff that you clean yourself with.  The other thing is, you need to clean it off with more soap!  Very odd.

Christians are often the same.  We worship, sing, dance and experience revival.  We walk away refreshed and feeling clean.  The next time we need renewal we often return to that same “shower”.  What we think is a wonderful shower is now left over soap scum – we may not acknowledge it but others are certainly turned off by it.

The old hymns – they still bring life to some but you really need to learn to appreciate them and how to sing them properly.  Try explaining to a young urban youth how hymns relate to their lives and they may only see soap scum.

I grew up with Jesus Music, long hair, torn jeans and concerts.  This may appeal to some “wanna be hippies” but doesn’t really hold current for the new generations.  I love Larry Norman but his songs still talk about communists coming and the Vietnam War.

Listen to some worship music from the 80’s or 90’s and you may just quickly turn it off.

None of these worship styles are wrong.  But they may be lingering by Christians that were once blessed by them and they keep re-using them over and over again because they brought life at one point.  It’s not just music.  It’s our church buildings.  Style of teaching.  Leadership.  Programs.  We take a life giving “spiritual shower” and let it build into “scum” for generations to come.

If you were a current teenager or just say a “non church goer” would you enter your church building and relate to the program and teachings?  Would you find life or “scum residue”?  Are you trying to minister in 1980 terms?  1915 terms?  Even 2010 terms?  Culture is changing rapidly everyday but we continue to use old methods.

The Gospel of Jesus never changes but language and culture does.  Imagine running a church by Pilgrim standards today!

If you want to sing hymns or old Bible Camp songs – that’s fine.  Sing your heart out.  But don’t expect your neighbors to join in.  They may not be interested in your . . . well you get it.

Matthew 9:16-18 (NIV)

16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

soapscum

Top 10 Reasons for going to church

I started out working on a blog post – top ten reasons for going to church.  I got distracted along the way . . .

I always resented part time church goers as a kid.  One group was the C&E Christians – they only came on Christmas and Easter and they clogged up the pews like the gym goers in January and February.  Everyone knows they won’t be back.  One pastor I heard said to the congregation on Christmas Day “I’ll see you at Easter”.

Another group was the Cabin Christians.  This group had a weekend retreat and they were gone most Sundays at their 2nd home.

We also had the semi-detached Christians.  Similar to a house that is attached on one side, we had families that were semi involved.  They came most Sundays but left immediately after the service and never really made any relationships in the body.  No one was quite sure who they were or what they were up to.

So I was going to write about the top ten reasons to go every Sunday and questioned why I really was there every Sunday.  Here is what I came up with:

1) I was forced to go every Sunday for the first 18 years of my life unless I had a fever.  In our house it was the unpardonable sin to skip church. This has a definite effect on your psyche.  Will I be struck down if I don’t go?

2) I went to see my friends.  Don’t confuse this with holy fellowship.  This was hanging out with friends and catching up on weekend news.

3) Showing off new clothes.  Ok, ok – This may have not applied to me but definitely to others.

4) I needed to be a good example to my children and force them to go like I was.

5) Worry about what the neighbors will think.  Just like I wouldn’t mow my yard on Sunday I couldn’t just stay home from church either.

6) I had a responsibility to fill – teaching, ushering, or a meeting.  I can’t sing so I wasn’t in the choir.

7) There was a potluck meal afterwards.  Similar to living in the mission, you have to go to the service to get the meal.

8) I hated the phone calls on Monday, “Where were you yesterday?”

9) I want to see my grandchildren and I don’t want them to think I’m a heathen.

10) There were times when I honestly went to worship, learn, fellowship and grow in my spiritual journey but I realized the first 9 reasons happened far more often.

Does that make me a part timer heathen that will be struck down?

Why do you go to church?

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

church

 

 

Preacher’s Kids

Thank you to everyone who read my blogs in October about Isaiah.  We are doing well and appreciate the comments, notes and prayers.

This month I am switching gears and will be blogging about Preacher’s Kids (missionary kids included).  I hope you enjoy them.  Please comment your experiences.

I was the youngest of 3 siblings – 2 older sisters that were perfect (except my oldest sister who wanted to be a hippy for a short time).  They were (are) pretty.  They got straight A’s in school.  Musical.  You get the picture.  And then there’s me.  The only boy in the family and the youngest who had to follow 2 perfect sisters.  OK – get your Kleenex out.  I’m not feeling sorry for myself.  I just wanted to paint my picture.  My dad was a Mennonite pastor (please see my blogs on Mennonites).  This only made me more glaring as a boy following perfect sisters.  I couldn’t sit still in church.  I could be a brat in Sunday School.  I ran around the church property like it was mine.  Unlike my sister’s attraction to sacred music, I played “Jesus Christ Superstar” on the church organ and played an electric guitar. I smarted off to a policeman one time because he stopped me from riding my mini-bike on the parking lot.  He asked if I had permission to ride here.  I said “go inside and ask my Dad, he’s the pastor.”

My mom’s idea of crowd control during church was to pinch my arm with her long finger nails.  She would threaten to make me sit up at the pulpit with my dad if I didn’t behave.  When I went to my dad for help I heard the famous line “Everyone is watching you because I am the pastor.  If I can’t manage my family then I can’t manage the church.”  I heard that quote 1,235,416 times in my life.  “You can’t go to dances “quote”.  “You can’t go to movies “quote”.  “You can’t have long hair “quote”.

Don’t get me wrong – I loved my dad and mom.  I love God.  I love church (sometimes).  Overall I had a great childhood and I appreciate what I learned being a preacher’s kid.  It had a lot of benefits.  I received gifts from people.  I had a huge play yard and when it rained I could play in the whole church building.  I had special privileges (I’ll get to those in another blog).  I was a happy kid.

I just grew up knowing that I was in the spot light and I had to be careful not to shame my dad.  I had to be at every service.  I had to meet old people that came to visit at our house.  I had to hear about conferences, congregations, bishops, elders, budgets, doctrine.  You name it, the preacher’s kids heard about it.  We were always told “You can’t repeat this to anyone.”  Yeah, like I cared about Mrs. Ripper going into early menopause!  Who was I going to tell that to?

So sit back.  You will read some blogs that are sad and some that are funny.  If you are a preacher’s kid, you will get it!

church

Preacher’s Kids

Thank you to everyone who read my blogs in October about Isaiah.  We are doing well and appreciate the comments, notes and prayers.

This month I am switching gears and will be blogging about Preacher’s Kids (missionary kids included).  I hope you enjoy them.  Please comment your experiences.

I was the youngest of 3 siblings – 2 older sisters that were perfect (except my oldest sister who wanted to be a hippy for a short time).  They were (are) pretty.  They got straight A’s in school.  Musical.  You get the picture.  And then there’s me.  The only boy in the family and the youngest who had to follow 2 perfect sisters.  OK – get your Kleenex out.  I’m not feeling sorry for myself.  I just wanted to paint my picture.  My dad was a Mennonite pastor (please see my blogs on Mennonites).  This only made me more glaring as a boy following perfect sisters.  I couldn’t sit still in church.  I could be a brat in Sunday School.  I ran around the church property like it was mine.  Unlike my sister’s attraction to sacred music, I played “Jesus Christ Superstar” on the church organ and played an electric guitar. I smarted off to a policeman one time because he stopped me from riding my mini-bike on the parking lot.  He asked if I had permission to ride here.  I said “go inside and ask my Dad, he’s the pastor.”

My mom’s idea of crowd control during church was to pinch my arm with her long finger nails.  She would threaten to make me sit up at the pulpit with my dad if I didn’t behave.  When I went to my dad for help I heard the famous line “Everyone is watching you because I am the pastor.  If I can’t manage my family then I can’t manage the church.”  I heard that quote 1,235,416 times in my life.  “You can’t go to dances “quote”.  “You can’t go to movies “quote”.  “You can’t have long hair “quote”.

Don’t get me wrong – I loved my dad and mom.  I love God.  I love church (sometimes).  Overall I had a great childhood and I appreciate what I learned being a preacher’s kid.  It had a lot of benefits.  I received gifts from people.  I had a huge play yard and when it rained I could play in the whole church building.  I had special privileges (I’ll get to those in another blog).  I was a happy kid.

I just grew up knowing that I was in the spot light and I had to be careful not to shame my dad.  I had to be at every service.  I had to meet old people that came to visit at our house.  I had to hear about conferences, congregations, bishops, elders, budgets, doctrine.  You name it, the preacher’s kids heard about it.  We were always told “You can’t repeat this to anyone.”  Yeah, like I cared about Mrs. Ripper going into early menopause!  Who was I going to tell that to?

So sit back.  You will read some blogs that are sad and some that are funny.  If you are a preacher’s kid, you will get it!

church

Everyone knows your name

Billy Joel wrote it like this “Only the good die young”

Many have said “Why would I want to go to heaven, all my friends will be in hell”

Last but not least – Larry Norman said “church is middle class”

Who’s fault is it that church is so stuffy?  I know that church is supportive and is family(I have many to be thankful for).  But Christians are stuffy.  They’re cheap and reserved.  Don’t get mad.  Go to a bar and see the difference between that environment and church.

The bar people are friendly and open.  They talk to strangers.  They share their stories.  They will buy you a drink or give you a smoke even though they don’t know you.  The bartender listens to everyone, knows the regular’s names and laughs at the stupid jokes. They tip and they spend money. People go there to be with people.  Yes they drink but they could drink at home for a lot cheaper.  They want to socialize.

Church people are tight.  If you go out to lunch with them they will count out the bill to the penny.  They order water instead of soda to save $2.  They don’t welcome strangers to their table or buy food for the people next to them.  They don’t hang out and waste time talking – they have work to do.  And they are cheap tippers (I love when they leave a tract instead of a tip – that always goes over well).

Ok, so I’m generalizing but tell me why a show named “Cheers” was popular for so long.  “You want to go where everyone knows your name.”  Church people aren’t bad and I don’t encourage people to go to bars and drink.  But bars can be fun.  I don’t admire people who spend all their money on booze and cigarettes but I wish I was freer to spend and relax and have a good time.  I’m jealous when I see people sit at a bar and spend some money to socialize and have a good time.

I have recently ran into an older single woman from our town in the same restaurant bar more than once.  I asked her “do you drink here everyday?”  She laughed and said “no” (I didn’t believe her).  Do you know what she said next?  “This is my church.  These people are my family.  I don’t want to be alone.  I hate going home to an empty house.”  She is never alone when she is there.  People are always talking to her and she has a good time.

Why can’t church be more like that?

Matthew 9:10-12

10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.       (I wonder if he really wanted to say, they’re more fun!)

bar pic

Is God offended when we fart?

*Warning* This may be offense to some.  Please proceed with caution.

I was sitting in church, listening to a sermon that was on theheavy side of boring.  It was warm and I was uncomfortable.  I was suffering from eating too much fried food the night before.  Have you ever been in public when that natural occurrence, that natural relief of gas, that bodily function that just shouldn’t be there, just won’t go away?  I was sweating.  There are two options to this function: one makes a horrific sound that everyone hears, especially in a quiet place like church; the other is a deadly odor that lingers and seems to never go away.

What do you do in these situations?  I thought briefly about trying to get up to leave but I was in the middle of the pew.  The name “pew” seemed like a terrible joke at this moment.  I was worried that by just moving I may “bless” everyone around me.  This may seem funny, but at the time it was far from being funny.

The long sermon finally came to an end but to my dismay, the pastor led us into a time of silent prayer and meditation on the word that was shared.  My meditation was on the unspiritual topic of “Is God offended when we fart?”  due to my suffering.

God created us.  He knew well before we were born that we would have unpleasant body functions.  He also said that He would be with us always.  So it’s not like we can slip away from God for a minute to relieve ourselves when we are suffering the way I was.  I don’t know whether God can smell the offense but I’m sure that He hears them.  There are times when it may be funny, just like there are times when it is funny with friends.  In my case, I like to blast my sons when we are in the car and I lock the power windows so that they cannot get relief!

But what about those special moments with God; Those times when we are in prayer, mediation, or Bible study.  Could this be offensive when we do something so rude while trying to worship?  I have read the Bible through several times and I have not found a scripture to list this as a sin.  Neither have I found any mention of it at all.   In fact, I believe God is silent on this subject altogether.  This is very frustrating to me.  I like a God that dictates everything we do.  I don’t like to sit and suffer but I most certainly don’t want to offend Him while praying.

How do we bow and pray saying “Dear Heavenly Father, we love you and worship you. . . “bleep”. . . and praise you above all else.”  This can’t be appropriate can it?  Should we excuse ourselves from prayer, go outside for a moment and then continue with the prayer?  Isn’t that silly?  God is still outside hearing and possibly smelling.  I wish there was some guidance in the scripture.

I finally went to my pastor and asked for his wisdom to this challenge.  He began laughing and thought I was trying to be funny.  This only added to my dismay.  There is a mention in the New Testament about offending the Holy Spirit.  Could this be it?

I asked the sales clerk at the Christian bookstore if she knew of any writing on the subject.  She blushed and walked away.  Am I being ridiculous?  Doesn’t anyone else wonder about these issues?  Am I the only one who has bodily urges while trying to pray?

Life was in a downward spiral.  I was becoming more depressed every day.  No one could help me with my spiritual quest.  My family was becoming distant.  How could they respect a man that farts while praying?

After all my searching, I still don’t have an answer.  Do we offend God when we fart?  Will we fart in heaven?  Is farting a sin?  Ok, I know that farting can’t be a sin but maybe when we are in prayer or worship?  Is there anyone who can help me find wisdom in this?