Pastor's "Don't Go To Church" message really ticked people off

This is the first I’d heard of this… but it happened this past Easter:

“Don’t Go To Church” – the words are blunt and meant to spark a reaction. The controversial message has been popping up all over Fayetteville – on newspaper ads, billboards, T-shirts and online – but the message has a hidden meaning, those responsible say.

“I’ve worn the T-shirt. I’ve had people telling us we’re going to hell,” said Jeff Isenhour, pastor of Arran Lake Baptist Church. “Church is not a place you go. Church ought to be who we are.”

Isenhour says his congregation is trying to reach out to those with no church home. Instead of going to traditional church on Easter Sunday, they are asking people to come to J.P. Riddle Stadium for a non-traditional service.

Those who go to the event “won’t feel out of place. No one will be judging what you’re wearing, shaking your hand with a plastic smile or telling you how good it is to finally see you again,” according to a video posted on the group’s site,

// read more here…

I did something like this once that ticked people off.

When our church started a Saturday morning service, I (probably stupidly) ran an ad on the church page of the paper that had the headline: “Sleep in on Sunday Mornings”.  (the copy then said to join us on Saturday night.  Talk about an almost fireable offense.  🙂

Here you can see that video the church posted of the event last Easter.  Nearly 3,000 people attended:


  • Greg Smith November 15, 2012 Reply

    There’s no problem with non-traditional types of worship services (although this seems pretty standard for me… not a lot of actual innovation). The problem is that they’re making a point at the expense of other churches. The point they seem to be making is, “All the other churches are judgmental, boring, impractical…etc”.

    Can’t we do marketing that reaches to the brokenness of people — rather than take advantage of the brokenness of the Church? Sure, she needs fixing… but she’s His Bride (warts and all).

    • Eric MadPastor Keller November 16, 2012 Reply

      Greg. Could you please provide specific examples of churches that are trying to build themselves up by putting other churches down? (i.e. The name of the church and what they specifically said about other churches)

  • Desperate days require desperate measures. Most of us grieve over how relatively few disciples we are making. We yearn to make a difference, but generally most of our new members are transfers or children of our members. When we consider the number of churches plateaued, declining, or divided by conflict we know Christ desires better for His Church.

    Without compromising or changing the message we all have to be willing to “go through Samaria” or “uncover a roof” – do the untraditional, innovative, and what may even appear “radical” to some – in order to reach those precious people who will not hear otherwise.

    We all know the standing definition of “insanity” – doing the same thing and expecting different results. God help us to remove every “stained glass barrier” that hinders the world from hearing the life-changing message of Christ in a clear, relevant, and persuasive manner.

    Let’s pray for one another and work together to bring Him the glory He deserves!

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