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    Christian Advice Requested - Thread: What kills church growth?

    1. #11
      faramir.pete's Avatar
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      Well I think the responses to this question here exemplify what is wrong with 'churches' in our world today. They are all focussed upon quantity and not quality, which is odd when you consider that Christ told us that it is our love for one another that would set us apart from the world in which we live. It seems loving one another is more difficult than all the other things that take up the energy of church goers. But that is probably just my opinion.


      Pete from Peterborough UK

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    3. #12
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      Quote Originally Posted by faramir.pete View Post
      Well I think the responses to this question here exemplify what is wrong with 'churches' in our world today. They are all focussed upon quantity and not quality...
      Well, that is what the original post asked about.

      Sure, it probably is possible to use the term "church growth" to mean increase in grace or awareness or something else, but nothing like that was even hinted at in the question that was put to us. Had some meaning other than increase in attendance or membership, which is the usual meaning of this term, been even hinted at in the OP, we would probably have answered differently.
      Last edited by Albion; 02-18-2018 at 10:43 AM.

    4. #13
      Josiah's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by jsimms435 View Post
      A focus on only members and not reaching out to the community.
      Being legalistic and rigid in thinking and unloving
      being unfriendly, members not forgiving each other wrongs

      Good points....


      But I think SOMETIMES very healthy, very missional, very loving churches also don't numerically grow..... I don't know why.

      Then I look at my brother's church - already worshipping well into the thousands every weekend - no theology AT ALL, the antithesis of legalistic and thinking... but exciting and with very professional and LOUD entertainment and LOTS of personal services.... and while it looses hundreds of people every week, it gains more than that every week.

      I will say one thing for it: it's a great place for 20 somethings to meet other 20 somethings..... and the services would put most professional rock concerts to shame. Maybe why it grows is that they LITERALLY have their own Starbucks... yup, a full Starbucks in the "Gathering" (as they call their entrance area), with indoor and outdoor seating.... and if visitors check in at the "Guest Center" they get a coupon for a FREE coffee there (any of their choice). I took 'em up on that....

      The ways of God are sometimes mysterious.....



      - Josiah
      Last edited by Josiah; 02-18-2018 at 10:57 AM.
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

    5. #14
      faramir.pete's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Albion View Post
      Well, that is what the original post asked about.

      Sure, it probably is possible to use the term "church growth" to mean increase in grace or awareness or something else, but nothing like that was even hinted at in the question that was put to us. Had some meaning other than increase in attendance or membership, which is the usual meaning of this term, been even hinted at in the OP, we would probably have answered differently.
      Odd that I thought the question is 'what kills church growth' and growth can be measured in many ways, I like to measure things the way Jesus says we should.


      Pete from Peterborough UK

    6. #15
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      Quote Originally Posted by faramir.pete View Post
      Odd that I thought the question is 'what kills church growth' and growth can be measured in many ways, I like to measure things the way Jesus says we should.
      I cannot fault you for following what you think Jesus recommended, but the question put to us here was about growth in numbers--which as I recall was something Jesus also spoke favorably about happening with his church.

    7. #16
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      Quote Originally Posted by Albion View Post
      I cannot fault you for following what you think Jesus recommended, but the question put to us here was about growth in numbers--which as I recall was something Jesus also spoke favorably about happening with his church.
      The question was actually "what kills church growth" without an explicit focus on numbers. In our culture we typically regard "church growth" as "an increase in butts on pews" as opposed to "an increase in grace and wisdom" or "becoming more like Jesus". I'd be interested to know how many ministers would rather lead a congregation of 50 dedicated followers of Jesus, or 5000 people who were only there for the entertainment and what they could get out of it. How many ministers would rather see their church building turned into a wine bar and meet in someone's house, but lead a group of people who were truly on fire for God, as opposed to needing to extend the building to house the endless groups that sat around discussing nothing of any consequence. How many ministers would ask a wealthy and generous donor to leave, because that one person was making dozens of poorer members (who would probably never make a financial contribution of any consequence) unwelcome.

      As a side note on that last point, one thing I really admired about my former pastor was that he had no idea who gave what to the church, and he specifically excused himself from any discussion that might relate to who was giving what. As he said, he wanted to focus his attention on who had spiritual needs rather than on who was most generous, and if he knew which members were giving the most he might be tempted to give them priority over people of more limited financial means but who had a more pressing spiritual need.
      "Do what thou will shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

      "If you love me, obey my commandments" - Jesus Christ

      The Bible comes as a complete package. If we want to pluck verses out of context so make them mean what we want them to mean, if we want to ignore the passages that are inconvenient to our outlook, we should be intellectually honest enough to throw our Bibles in the trash and admit we are following Crowley and not Christ.

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    9. #17
      faramir.pete's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Albion View Post
      I cannot fault you for following what you think Jesus recommended, but the question put to us here was about growth in numbers--which as I recall was something Jesus also spoke favorably about happening with his church.
      I do not see any reference in the question to the quantitative evaluation you allude to.


      Pete from Peterborough UK

    10. #18
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      Quote Originally Posted by Josiah View Post
      Good points....


      But I think SOMETIMES very healthy, very missional, very loving churches also don't numerically grow..... I don't know why.

      Then I look at my brother's church - already worshipping well into the thousands every weekend - no theology AT ALL, the antithesis of legalistic and thinking... but exciting and with very professional and LOUD entertainment and LOTS of personal services.... and while it looses hundreds of people every week, it gains more than that every week.

      I will say one thing for it: it's a great place for 20 somethings to meet other 20 somethings..... and the services would put most professional rock concerts to shame. Maybe why it grows is that they LITERALLY have their own Starbucks... yup, a full Starbucks in the "Gathering" (as they call their entrance area), with indoor and outdoor seating.... and if visitors check in at the "Guest Center" they get a coupon for a FREE coffee there (any of their choice). I took 'em up on that....

      The ways of God are sometimes mysterious.....



      - Josiah
      They would be a church that is seen as growing only if we use the numeric growth category. If you use discipleship or godly living probably not so much.
      This church sounds like the church i was attending a few weeks ago, except the one i attended didn't have a Starbucks. But, I don't drink coffee anyway, so no loss for me

    11. #19
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      Quote Originally Posted by Josiah View Post
      Good points....


      But I think SOMETIMES very healthy, very missional, very loving churches also don't numerically grow..... I don't know why.

      Then I look at my brother's church - already worshipping well into the thousands every weekend - no theology AT ALL, the antithesis of legalistic and thinking... but exciting and with very professional and LOUD entertainment and LOTS of personal services.... and while it looses hundreds of people every week, it gains more than that every week.

      I will say one thing for it: it's a great place for 20 somethings to meet other 20 somethings..... and the services would put most professional rock concerts to shame. Maybe why it grows is that they LITERALLY have their own Starbucks... yup, a full Starbucks in the "Gathering" (as they call their entrance area), with indoor and outdoor seating.... and if visitors check in at the "Guest Center" they get a coupon for a FREE coffee there (any of their choice). I took 'em up on that....

      The ways of God are sometimes mysterious.....



      - Josiah
      A freakin Starbucks man?

      Not too cool.

      I find the small rather homely looking gospel churches to have the most Spirit I think.....though this is admittedly based on a singular church building and a single trip to said church building.

      I went to a separate one one time with similar theme but that was seemingly using some hand ointment/alcohol /lotion and putting hands on members who would feel warmth from the lotion (to manipulate their reasoning into thinking some profound thing was going on; in my own mind anyway).

      They allowed me to come up and donate three separate times; or rather called for donations three separate times. This too was unsettling to me personally.

      With that being said; it cannot be concluded that all small churches are good.

      On the contrary I don't think super extravagant church buildings are a sure sign that it is bad or not bringing glory to GOD.....but a Starbucks!.....how many times do they take donations?

      peace

      Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk
      Faith in selfless Unity for Good.

    12. #20
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      BIG TIME CHURCH GROWTH AS EXAMPLED BY ONE OF THE BIGGEST, FASTEST GROWING CHURCH IN THE USA....

      My older brother attends this church. It has literally thousands in worship each weekend. I've been to it 3 or 4 times with my brother (although this was at least 5 years ago, it's probably doubled in size since then)..... Here's what is OBVIOUS and could easily be copied by any other church....


      1. Have LOTS and LOTS of options. MANY worship times in lots of different venues. People like choices and convenience. Some like crowds, some like intimacy; some like stadium seating and others sofas. Some like it "live" and some on huge video monitors. Some like to drink soft drinks or coffee during worship, some don't. Some want to worship in the morning, some in the afternoon, some in the evening; some on Friday, some on Saturday, some on Sunday. CHOICES.


      2. Have a HUGE welcoming area (they call it "The Gathering"). Nice, inviting, HUGE.... Have a welcome desk with lots of information and maps and schedules... and if they've never registered online (giving their name and email addy) they can do it here and get a coupon for FREE Starbucks drinks (any variety, any size) for they and all in their party (This works.... they even bought my info).


      3. Have your own full Starbucks. Really nice. Friendly seating inside and out. Big draw. I suppose it wouldn't have to be Starbucks; it could be Peets or something.


      4. NO beliefs. They divide and trouble and raise questions. Just don't have any. "We are about love!" "We lift up the God of love!" "We believe in JESUS!" Frown on denominations, doctrine, teachings.


      5. Have no morality, just "look in your heart!"


      6. Have LOTS of single, good-looking girls (it brings in the boys..... probably works the other way, too). My brother first went to this church as an alternative to the bar scene. He's HARDLY alone. I'd say at least 2/3's of the worshippers are in the 15 - 35 age group.


      6. Dress your preacher in jeans and an ahola shirt. Obviously, no pulpit (he must walk around a lot mic'ed). No holding some leather-bound floppy Bible.


      7. LOTS of music..... none of which can be found in any Christian hymnal.... done VERY, VERY professionally, complete will all the high tech and background tricks. And (here's the essential thing) LOUD. I don't mean high volumn, I mean shakes the chairs, vibrates the floor, can't-hear-the-baby-crying-next-to-you L.O.U.D. Been to any heavy metal rock concerts???? You got the idea. In your church, you might need to install a couple hundred more speakers but you can do it.


      8. Tell the preacher to make the people laugh and make the cry and mention God and Jesus now and then.... but don't teach (It divides, it troubles, it raises questions, it makes you sound like your grandpas church).


      9. No Communion. No Baptism. It divides. It troubles. It raises questions. It makes it seem like grandpa's church. Worse, it takes time away from the music. And since they don't do anything, why do them? If you REALLY want to get baptized, go to the Welcome counter and they'll give you the email addy of the Methodist Church across the street.


      10. Have lots of studies (that choice thing again). Doesn't matter what the topics are, what the titles are - as long as the first two words in the title are "HOW TO....."



      Works. This mega church really brings 'em in.



      - Josiah


      [Admission: a bit of exaggeration has been employed - but not that much, lol]




      .
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

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