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    Denomination & Faith Movement Discussions - Thread: went to a new church this morning

    1. #11
      psalms 91's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Albion View Post
      That's impressive, don't you think? Most of the time, we would settle for a welcome and a few words at the door that show a personal interest in the visitor.
      Many in our congregation go out of their way to welcome a new person, I see this anytime someone new walks in
      Isaiah 40:31

    2. #12
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      Quote Originally Posted by Albion View Post
      That's impressive, don't you think? Most of the time, we would settle for a welcome and a few words at the door that show a personal interest in the visitor.
      Yes, it really is. I haven't had that happen since I was a teenager. I went to a revival one time and a girl I didn't know asked me if I wanted to sit with her and her friends and then I found out she was a visitor as well.

    3. #13
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      Quote Originally Posted by jsimms435 View Post
      What do you look for when you have decided to switch churches you attend?
      90% of it would be theology. WHAT, specifically, do they confess and teach? In that regard, I would regard what denomination it belongs to since (at least in a basic sense) it is embracing what that denomination teaches (and perhaps does).

      Also in the "mix" (but all VERY secondary) Worship (that it is thoughtful, biblical, well-done.... and I like liturgical worship), there there is a CLEAR and evident missional passion and brotherly love. I'd see as negative if it seemed to be unfriendly, unloving, uncaring, fighting, fragmented.... or self absorbed in terms of ministry.



      My brothers' mega non-denom worships THOUSANDS every Sunday, but there is no belief at all (sound or otherwise)..... the worship is very, very professional (a rock concert every Sunday equal to anything you'd pay $100 a ticket for) and L.O.U.D. but biblically void and theologically horrible.... They have their own Starbucks and SO many activities that it's impossible to even be aware them all. But I would NEVER remotely consider being a part of that.
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

    4. Likes Confessional Lutheran liked this post
    5. #14
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      Quote Originally Posted by Josiah View Post
      90% of it would be theology. WHAT, specifically, do they confess and teach? In that regard, I would regard what denomination it belongs to since (at least in a basic sense) it is embracing what that denomination teaches (and perhaps does).

      Also in the "mix" (but all VERY secondary) Worship (that it is thoughtful, biblical, well-done.... and I like liturgical worship), there there is a CLEAR and evident missional passion and brotherly love. I'd see as negative if it seemed to be unfriendly, unloving, uncaring, fighting, fragmented.... or self absorbed in terms of ministry.



      My brothers' mega non-denom worships THOUSANDS every Sunday, but there is no belief at all (sound or otherwise)..... the worship is very, very professional (a rock concert every Sunday equal to anything you'd pay $100 a ticket for) and L.O.U.D. but biblically void and theologically horrible.... They have their own Starbucks and SO many activities that it's impossible to even be aware them all. But I would NEVER remotely consider being a part of that.
      I believe they call a church like your brothers' mega church "seeker sensitive" meaning that it is an inch deep and a mile wide. I was a part of that briefly last year. The pastor would say something and everyone would seem to marvel at it and I thought it was rather meaningless. But, I found that a lot of people in the church today are very shallow themselves in their doctrine, so it doesn't take much to get their attention. Unfortunately, it doesn't take much to shake their faith either. While I believe a stronger knowledge of the Word will lead to a deeper faith.

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    7. #15
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      Quote Originally Posted by jsimms435 View Post
      I have been attending a large Baptist church about 23 minute drive from my home for the last two or three months. I was very large, probably over 1,500 people or more on Sunday morning. The music was great and lots of activities. I struggled to get to know people there and decided that I needed to find something smaller where it would be easier to me to get to know people. So, today i went to a smaller Baptist church about four miles from home. About 120 people in worship service. The pastor didn't speak as they had a guest speaker and he is going to the national convention next week, so I won't hear him that week either.

      What do you look for when you have decided to switch churches you attend?

      The church does have a web site and has a doctrinal statement that I agree with.
      For me the first step is to check the web site for a statement of belief. If I can't accept the statement of belef I look elsewhere. I'm also wary of things in the statement of belief that seem unnecessarily exclusive.

      When I was last looking for a church there was a local one that I'd heard good things about but their statement of belief included an insistence that Christians should have no involvement with alcohol in any context, using Eph 5:18 and Prov 20:1 as "proof". Beer isn't the be-all and end-all for me but if a church is going to butcher Scripture on their web site where anyone can see I'd be concerned about how else they might butcher it behind the scenes.

      Another church started their statement of beliefs with the things I'd expect - they believe in God, in Jesus Christ, in the sacrifice Jesus made for us and so on, but then insisted that Jesus would return in a pre-tribulation rapture. I never got a straight answer as to why that needed to be in the statement of faith, on the basis it implicitly excludes those with different eschatological viewpoints.

      I'm slightly antsy if a church insists on "membership classes". At my last church the membership process was a single meeting where we were asked if we accepted the terms of membership (which were pretty simple), had a discussion over dinner with a couple in the church where we talked about ourselves and our testimonies, then it was put to a vote of existing members and we were approved. At my current church I met with the pastor and membership was offered on the basis of a statement of faith. (Technically I'm a member of both churches - the only reason I left my former church was because I left the area.)

      I look for music that is theologically sound and sermons that present Scripture in a way that provokes thought. If the church doesn't have a web site with historic sermons it can be hard to gauge without attending a few services.

      It's good to be a part of a church that notices you're new and welcomes you but without finding you can barely move for everybody clamoring to talk to The Visitor.
      "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.

    8. #16
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      I do think that a church should have a web site to reach out to the community. It makes me question the churches commitment to outreach if they can't even put together a decent web site with the basics. It really isn't that hard. When I was at a church in Texas we had a free web site that I maintained and it was easy to do.

    9. #17
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      Quote Originally Posted by jsimms435 View Post
      I do think that a church should have a web site to reach out to the community. It makes me question the churches commitment to outreach if they can't even put together a decent web site with the basics. It really isn't that hard. When I was at a church in Texas we had a free web site that I maintained and it was easy to do.
      In older congregations it can be difficult since seniors aren't as computer literate as there might be in younger congregations.
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus

    10. #18
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      Quote Originally Posted by Lämmchen View Post
      In older congregations it can be difficult since seniors aren't as computer literate as there might be in younger congregations.
      They could get their 5 year old grandchildren to help them.

    11. #19
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      Quote Originally Posted by jsimms435 View Post
      I have been attending a large Baptist church about 23 minute drive from my home for the last two or three months. I was very large, probably over 1,500 people or more on Sunday morning. The music was great and lots of activities. I struggled to get to know people there and decided that I needed to find something smaller where it would be easier to me to get to know people. So, today i went to a smaller Baptist church about four miles from home. About 120 people in worship service. The pastor didn't speak as they had a guest speaker and he is going to the national convention next week, so I won't hear him that week either.

      What do you look for when you have decided to switch churches you attend?

      The church does have a web site and has a doctrinal statement that I agree with.
      It's the people the count most I suspect. The theology matters but the people are where you make friends and find fellowship so start there. Then check the theology, in Protestant churches theology can vary significantly from one group to another and from one congregation to another in independent and Baptist churches. But You know your own mind on that best so I will not attempt to advise. After theology I suspect comes the style and substance of the congregational worship. Do the people really believe what they say and do you feel comfortable with what they really believe and say in worship; if that is okay and the preaching is not heretical or something then maybe you have a place to call home. But if theological accuracy counts for a lot with you and if fellowship is second place to it then the statement of beliefs and the content of the doctrine in the preaching will trump the worship and fellowship. Only you can answer what matters most.

      For me, a Catholic, only one Church matters so my "church shopping" really becomes "church building and congregation" shopping. On that score I count the worship highest. I want the liturgy to be right. Then comes fellowship and friendship, the homily style is a distant last but the homily content matters and heresy would bother me enough to ask the priest about it and if necessary write to the bishop about it. But fortunately for me heresy in my archdiocese is not common among the priests. So that's my approach within the Catholic Church.
      Pope Gregory I was well known for his alms to the poor, and he gave quite generously of the riches donated to the Church by the wealthy people of Rome. Everything from money to land was given to the poor in some fashion. He made clear to his subordinates that their duty was to relieve the distress faced by the poor.

      He ordered his clergy to go out into the streets to find and care for the poor in person.

    12. #20
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      Quote Originally Posted by Lämmchen View Post
      In older congregations it can be difficult since seniors aren't as computer literate as there might be in younger congregations.
      It's also remarkable how difficult it can be to get agreement regarding what should go on the web site. Sadly some churches have members who won't offer any ideas for improvement but are very quick to complain if something changes and they don't like it. Although in my church I was intrigued when I found out that one of the most regular users of the web site was in his 80s.
      "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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