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Current Events
Here’s what the Bieb thinks about going to church:
“A lot of people who are religious, I think they get lost. They go to church just to go to church. I’m not trying to disrespect them . but for me, I focus more on praying and talking to Him. I don’t have to go to church.”
To tell the truth, this isn’t a real surprise coming from someone his age, is it? Do 17 year olds see the value in church? And if they don’t, what can we do to fix it? Is the solution in trying to get them to conform to our Sunday morning 11:00 format?  Or is there a better solution for the church than the Sunday AM gathering that our parents and grandparents flocked to? What do YOU think? SOURCE
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Leadership
I’ve heard it for years.  Books have been written about the subject.  Seminars and conferences have drawn thousands over the years. How do we break the XXX attendance barrier? Bryan Miles at MAG has some observations about church attendance size, barriers, etc.  I think you’ll find them interesting.  Here are the first three categories.  You’ll need to head over to his blog for the last three:
  • 100 – This is a group of people who are circling around a good vision-caster. This group likely knows everybody. They are really vision based … and giving can be strong with a key/sending group. One key ideal/vision is the reason for this group to have developed. 6 months in is a tricky season at this level … stagnation can hit around this mark.
  • 300 – This group of people essentially are the typical church. 2 to 3 staff. Duct tape systems & processes. Not everyone in the church knows each other. Typically, I see a pastor change here … after one or two attempts of trying to grow the church but unsuccessful. Churches that grow out of this stage … change their mindset on scaling … and start to really believe in the power of small groups AND volunteerism.
  • 600 to 800 – This church is now a small organization. 3 to 5 staff. Volunteers emphasis is imperative. Church goes from church of 300 to 600/700 by developing (maybe for 1st time) systems & processes. Refinement of ministries tied to mission/goals likely happens. This is where people who attend are challenged with church not being about them – and an attack on consumerism by attendees. Churches often make the mistake of building something here as THE solution to growth.
What category is YOUR church currently in?  Was Bryan spot-on with his description of your church size? What would you add or dispute? Todd  
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Controversy
A friend sent me a note on Facebook: “Is ‘not being fed’ ever a reason to leave a church? If so, in what instance? And if the answer is ‘no,’ is there ever a good reason to leave a church, aside from relocating?” via The Baptist Standard :: The Newsmagazine of Texas Baptists – Free to leave? QUESTION:  Aside from staff members… when is it ok to leave a church?  Doctrinal issues?  Style issues?  Personality issues?  Power issues?  Integrity issues? What do YOU think?

[facebook]
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Leadership
How would you respond to this letter to the editor?
“I’ve gone for 30 years now,” he wrote, “and in that time I have heard something like 203,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I’m wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.”
OK… let’s have your best answer… Todd
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Outreach
“To get the young people to come, you almost have to cooperate with their tastes.”  That’s the quote from 92 year old Ethel Sprague.  Ethel joined First Baptist Church of Stevens Point in 1937.  She’s been attending ever since… An article in the Stevens Point Journal gives us the story. Ethel says “You can’t imagine what it was like years and years ago. We had the church jammed full of people in the balcony, in the gym — young people, college-aged kids, young families. It was really hopping… It has gone downhill tremendously in the last few years. We’ve lost a lot of the congregation to other churches and because of death and a lot of families are moving.” In fact, the once thriving First Baptist Church of Stevens Point is now down to 25 people. Enter Kelly Knauss, the new pastor at FBC.  His goal:  to restart the church and watch it emerge as a viable church that once again reaches the Stevens Point community.  He knows he only has 18-24 months to do this, or the church will be shut down. How many times could this story be written about churches in America?  Once thriving churches that are dying (literally). Ethel’s quote caught my eye:  “It’s not the old-fashioned church service that we knew as older people with the organ and the choir…to get the young people to come, you almost have to cooperate with their tastes.” After attending FBC for more than 73 years, Ethel wants one thing:  for FBC to be effective and to reach people.  Her conclusion:  things have to change.  She’s come to the realization that the organ and choir are not the best ways to reach people (or to keep FBC alive).  Even though that would be her preference, she’s faced reality that the gospel is more important than her own style preference. Notice that she said that the tastes of the church need to change; not the message or doctrine have to change. Ethel is a very wise lady.  I hope she gets what she is hoping for:  a church that is vibrant and once again reaching her community.  A church that is ‘hopping’.  And I hope that God will give her a few more years so that she can see that dream become a reality. Because… I’m guessing… there is NOTHING that would make Ethel happier.  A couple hundred people who know Jesus, even if there’s no choir or organ. Take a moment and pray for Ethel today; and for Pastor Knauss and FBC Stevens Point.  They can use our prayers… Todd
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Trends
That was the pledge at City Church in California recently.  According to the Orange County Register, about 100 people typically attend, and Pastor Kyle Steven Bonenberger challenged his flock to attract 200 for Sunday’s festivities, promising he would be first to go under the needle if they succeeded. Halfway through the service, they still weren’t there, but Bonenberger kept faith, revving up the crowd with allusions. God “has tattooed your name on his heart,” Bonenberger told guests. Eventually, a 200th person did arrive, right when a band started jamming and just before a climactic burst of confetti and a shout of “Happy Birthday!” Afterward, as attendees enjoyed a picnic of pulled pork and coleslaw, Bonenberger extended his arm, alternating between smiles and grimaces as an artist stained his skin with red ink. Several onlookers, including Irvine resident Scot Parker, were prepared to follow suit. “I’m strongly behind the vision of the church,” Parker said, explaining that he was “getting my tattoo to display my commitment to that.” You can read more here…
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Trends
The PCUSA’s membership is down over half since 1965.  Over half.  From 4.25 million to 2.07 million.  The clerk for the denomination says:  “What continues to sadden me is that the overwhelming majority of the loss in membership is in the category of ‘other,’ which means these are brothers and sisters in Christ who did not die or transfer to another congregation, but probably quietly slipped out the back door.” Some interesting facts from an article at the Courier-Journal.com: The median age of Presbyterians is 61. Membership went from 2,140,165 in 2008 to 2,077,138 in 2009. The PCUSA recently cut 44 positions from their payroll. 40 churches have left the denomination in the past 2 years. Presbyterians now number less than 1% of the U. S. population. You can read more here. Why do you think the PCUSA membership is down so dramatically?  Can it be saved?  Should it be saved? Love to hear your thoughts. Todd
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Humor
Andrew Jones (many of you know him as the TallSkinnyKiwi) recently posted an excellent and practical article on how to correctly estimate your church attendance.  Here are some of his criteria: – 50% if its a Pentecostal worship service because they count the legs and forget to divide by two. – 30% if its a Baptist church because they count members on the roll and not all of them are still living. – 25 % if its a Reformed church service because they count the people who SHOULD have been there. + 10 if its a Vineyard service because those rugs on the floor were actually people! + 20% if it’s a fundamentalist church because they don’t count the people they didn’t want there. – 10% if its a megachurch because the worship team and welcome team got counted during all 5 services. + 20% if it’s an emergent service because those having a smoke outside were not counted. Funny, huh?  Andrew has some others for you to check out over at his blog as well! Can you come up with any yourself?
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