Tuesday, February 15, 2005

VFTP: Not Coming Back

There are two main reasons these “Bring a Friend to Church” events almost always fail to achieve their intended purpose.

The first main reason is because most churches are only attractive to their own members. [Sometimes, the members even know their Church is not attractive.] Since attractiveness is perceived differently by believers and non-believers; this one reason has two completely different perspectives.

The majority of people who end up attending a church on these special Sundays are already believers. Believers have very strong opinions about the type of Sunday service they like to attend. They are looking for a certain type of church. They want a church that appears a certain way, and a pastor who acts a certain way, and music that sounds a certain way, and members that are friendly in a certain way. If the church doesn’t meet a believer’s expectations for what a church should be that very first Sunday they attend, it is unlikely they will give the church a second chance.

Non-believers evaluate a church differently. They are not looking for a certain type of church. Most non-believers think all churches are alike. Non-believers have many of their own personal reasons for not wanting to go to church. Regardless of the exact reason, most non-believers don’t go to church because there is something at church they expect to happen they want to avoid. They want to avoid people who are too friendly, or they want to avoid a long and boring sermon, or they want to avoid feeling guilty, or they want to avoid an alter call, or they want to avoid giving any personal information, or they want to avoid the offering plate. The very thing non-believers want to avoid the most, almost always happens on these “Bring a Friend to Church” Sundays; especially people being so friendly, they seem needy. Therefore, non-believers also rarely give any church a second chance.

"Bring a Friend to Church" Sundays will never work until the Church Leaders start designing the service and activities specifically for the type of guests they want to attend the Sunday morning event.

Tomorrow, I will give a second reason “Bring a Friend to Church” Sundays almost never work.

1 comment:

Ken said...

There is only one main reason that "bring a friend to church" events don't work. The church gathered is for believers. (For others: David and I have been through this in another venue.) The very word translated "church" in the Greek is "ekklesia"--the assembly of "called out ones." When the church gathered, they gathered to study the "Apostles' Doctrine" (to study the Word--OT and to have the mystery of Christ revealed to them on a real-time basis) and have fellowship (not the food, fun, fellowship--but enjoying a true sense of community), and to break bread and pray for one another's spiritual growth and for the spiritual awakening and rebirth of our non-believing friends and relatives (too much of our prayer time is spent praying for our health and wealth--we need to spend more time for strenthening in the inner man).

John related that Jesus said that people would know that we are His followers by the love that we have for one another--in my opinion--as we do primarily do these four things whenever even two or three are gathered in His Mame. "Church" isn't meant primarily for hundreds and hundreds, but enough to experience the fellowship of the Spirit. As we do these four things as we are gathered together, we are to achieve the purpose of the church as revealed in Ephesians, especially Chapter 4.

As we are edified and strengthened with might in the inner man, we all are equipped to do the work of the ministry--be that evangelism, preaching, teaching, showing mercy, giving, leading (administering), or, as we often think of it, just serving.

In I Corinthians 14, Paul talks a lot about the Corinthian believers propensity to like the 'showy' gifts of the Spirit, such as speaking in tongues, ecstatic utterances--things that could display an outward type of spirirtuality (they had a sad case of Pharisaism)--that ungifted or unbelieving people could not understand. Paul said that, when they are gathered together, they should desire gifts that people could understand. He used the example of prophecy (a gift that allows one to reveal the mysteries of the Word of God to those around) and said that IF (note that if means an unexpected event) an unbeliever or an ungifted person should come in among them, they would be convicted of sin, righteousness, and judgment (my paraphrase). The assumption of Paul was that the gathering was for believers.

Again, as we do those things to be built up, to the brought into the position of maturing (not perfect) believers we share the gospel as we go. The church is a salt shaker--it "holds" the salt until it is sprinkled to achieve its purpose--providing flavor to food or preserving it.