Need unbiased opinion re: church - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 07-21-2009, 12:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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#2 of 9 Old 07-21-2009, 12:54 AM
 
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you need to ask yourself what your goal is? what will success look like? what is Gods gaols and his view of success? what would happen if the active people stopped carrying the load? maybe it is time for pruning some ministries. if no one is interested in a moms group why bother? it clearly isn't a need in your church (even if you want it its no fun if no other moms want it ). why are there only 20 regular families attending? (that could easily be half of that 200 people)what is going on with the other 100 people? are the visitors? do they lose interest? fade away? if they fade away why? I went a church that we jokingly refered to as the three year church. after 3 years if you weren't on pay role you were gone. but that is because it was not a very deep place. the pastor gave a great sermon but there wasn't much else to hold you. it was pretty dead. i mean they had groups and ministries but they were so cpopncerned with being seeker friendly that no one really felt the need to grow. it seems to be the trend in protestant evangelical non-denominational churches for people to go a year or so, get bored and move to the next upstart. and there is always a new upstart with a hip pastor and something new. i don't know what the answer is but when I see great programs and vibrant ministries it is usually in churches that have been around for a while or have very very large congregations from the get go.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#3 of 9 Old 07-21-2009, 02:28 AM
 
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Does the pastor train other leaders?

I heard once that pastors can only have real relationships with about 150 people. For churches to grow beyond approximately this size, the pastor needs to be training and motivating other leaders.

What does life in this church look like other than on Sunday? (Is there life in this church?) I mean, do people meet together to share meals, to serve in the community, to care for one another?

Is the church relevant to your community? Does the congregation look like the people outside the church (age, gender, race, ethnicity)? Are there needs in the community that your church can meet?

A church I used to attend that was big but basically loosing touch with a rapidly changing community has done an amazing turn around over the last 10 years. They spent a few years studying their community, figuring out what people needed, and then creating ministries to meet those needs. For example, there is a large immigrant population so they created a community center that offers free english, cooking, computer, and parenting classes. They have pulled together their members to do work days to help rebuilt inner city churches, to repair homes for elderly people, to prepare classrooms in the local public schools for the year. I think it is things like this that can help both make a church relevant to it's community AND help the congregation learn that church is not about meeting the Christian's needs but rather about worshiping God and loving others.

What does membership mean? At our church, being a member more or less means that you are required to give and serve in some capacity. Some people serve inside the church, while others do ministry by coaching little league or volunteering at the hospital.
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#4 of 9 Old 07-21-2009, 11:09 AM
 
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I have observed something similar, I think, to what lilyka has described. Outreach and mission work is important, but the church must really deepen, continuously, the spiritual life of those people who attend to be successful. A church is not successful by getting more and more people to attend, if they do not continue on in their relationship with Christ. What does the church do to facilitate that?

As far as people getting burned out, it is the same thing. Our spiritual life is not comprised of "holy busywork" and if that is how we spend most of our time, we quickly burn out. We need to be filled by prayer and contemplation, and fed by the liturgy, these are the things that give us not only energy, but real direction for our work in and with the world. Monastics are a good example of this kind of model - regular and deep prayer to support work, work to allow dfor regular and deep prayer.

I agree cutting out ministries that are not used would be a good place to start. Then you need to look at really building up the spiritual lives of those families who attend regularly - it sounds like your church is Protestant, and perhaps independent? So I am not sure what is traditional in your church that would work - but don't be afraid to go back to some older forms that have fallen out of "style". Bible study, prayer groups, learning groups, music ministry, a good one - all these things are possibilities.

When you feel you have a good handle on this, then begin looking at the community and see what needs to happen. It may be that you don't need to grow your congregation, but their are other needs in the community where your church is located that you can begin to fill. But you can never sacrifice the spiritual purpose of church for the social work aspect.

It sounds like you need to talk to your pastor and see what he thinks. I wouldn't move to another Church unless you decide you need to attend another kind of church; but if you are happy with the beliefs and general practices of the one you are in, it sounds like it needs committed members. Moving on won't help them to archive what they need to.

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#5 of 9 Old 07-21-2009, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#6 of 9 Old 07-21-2009, 02:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JoAnnaL1209 View Post
What do the 100 non-active people do? They attend sermon on Sundays only. I don't even know their names..
why not? don't you think this is an important ministry? I used to go to a protestant church that made this their number one priority. by the third time a family attended they knew your name. not in a small way. the third time my dd showed up in nursery they had a permanant name tag for her with all her vital information on it. Whenever they did a mailing the handed it out to people before putting stamps on it. this not only saved postage but helped every connect a name with a face. then one day some ladies made it their mission to know,really know every other woman in the church. names birthdays, addresses. hand written birthday cards, personal greetings every sunday and when they saw you in public. calls every now and then just to say hi and see how you were doing. I left that church years ago. She still checks in with me. it wasn't about increasing numbers of butts in the pews. it was about loving your neighbor regardless of where they went or didn't go to church. There was so much wrong with that church but that was the most right thing I had ever seen in terms of ministry anywhere. the current church I go to was the same way. we are so small though, its hard nopt toknow the new guy but they bend over backwards to make sure people get included.

its a simple ministry. it starts with learning peoples names. then getting to know them. not as another body in church another person to join another ministry team but just making a new friend. once they are your friends you can rope them into anything. and it won't be about another church job. it will be you and your friend on a mission.

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Our church is Christian non-denominational. I would love to start and do more community outreach and service, but I am certain I would be the only one actually doing anything. So, I feel I should indepentantly outreach, on my own, not related to the church.
then do that. well there is no reason to do it on your own. there are tons of perfectly good Christian ministries all over the place. hook up with them. and let people know where you are going to be and when and that they are free to join you because you would really like to have a friend there with you.

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The people that would usually like our church, are people that do not like the churchiness and regulations of traditional churches. Our pastor's strong point would be letting people know the don't have to be into 'religion' to be a strong Christian and have a personal relationship with God.
part of being this kind of church is that you will never likely have more than a small core group of people doing all the work. you are minstering to a bunch of non-commital people and your message is that a shallow relationship with the church is ok. your main mission should be to get together with the core people and pray your guts out that God would conqure that spirit of shallowness in their lives and that God would light them up like a friggin Christmas tree and make them willing to do what HE wants rather than what they are comfortable with or entertained by . . . .even *gasp* liturgy or traditional stuff. ii mean really if we are only willing to do what we want and what serves us then who is it really about anyway?. ministries are just going to be social functions. prayer is never time wasted. and will do far more in a persons life than any gathering you can invite them to. you cannot get your self a cat and expect him to fetch and play dead like a dog. if you go looking for cats you are going to get cats. If dogs are what you want, pray for God to bring you a good dog. does that analogy make any sense? probably not.....bad analogies, its like a disease with me....sorry. Perhaps rather than another church with another set of the same ministries that every other seeker friendly church has, God is calling you to fall on your face in prayer. perhaps for all the other churches. there are plenty of churches and moms groups and mens groups and sermons that preach a no-hassle god. we don't need any more of these and everyone seems to think they have a new thing but they don't. Honestly if a person isn't being drawn to a living breathing earth shattering willing to be inconvinienced, willing to lay aside your preferences and be bored for an hour once a week kind of God they are not being won to a real god and there is no salvation in that dead faith anyway. why work for 400 lukewarm Christians when praying, and fasting and praying some more for one with real living faith that leads to salvation is worth so much more? how many hours a week do you spend thinking about ministry, orchastrating them, serv ing in them? how many do you spend in prayer, begging God to give these people a real relationship with Him?


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"It may be that you don't need to grow your congregation"
This really makes a lot of sense ... however there is a pressure or underliyng tone that we have this huge building that seats 400 and we need to fill it.
it is Gods job to fill it. he doesn't need your help. if he wants it filled he will fill it. and if you do fill it with a bunch of lukewarm semi believers who never get hot or cold who really cares? saying you have a big building that needs to be filled is just prideful. maybe God is telling you to get a smaller building. or that he doesn't need yet another independant church and wants his children to instead work in the churches that are already there.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#7 of 9 Old 07-21-2009, 06:12 PM
 
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You might want to look into a program called Natural Church Development. My church has been doing it. It's a structured method for evaluating how well your church is serving its existing congregation, then improving your weaker areas. The idea is that making the church a better place for the people who are already there will make it attractive to new people too.

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#8 of 9 Old 07-30-2009, 12:26 AM
 
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i read this article today. thought you might find it interesting
http://pastordanscott.blogspot.com/2...-american.html

Quote:
the church actually pays them to feed the maniacal frenzy of church growth – getting nickels and noses into the pews.

Why are people in our pews in the first place?

Why did we work so hard to get those people -- mostly from sister churches that are not as cool as we are -- into our pews?

Surely we didn’t call them here to perpetrate the spiritual emptiness that eats at the core of many of our church staffs.


ETA: I am not implying that your church is like that but it is a good perspective on where to start. that church growth doesn't always mean filling the seats but a better place to start growth is in the hearts of those who are already there.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#9 of 9 Old 08-02-2009, 06:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post
You might want to look into a program called Natural Church Development. My church has been doing it. It's a structured method for evaluating how well your church is serving its existing congregation, then improving your weaker areas. The idea is that making the church a better place for the people who are already there will make it attractive to new people too.
Hey, I think I'll look into that as well. We need some serious help!

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