How new people come to church for the first time

How new people come to church for the first time

Now Crandall’s original study was done in the 10 years ago, when church growth scholarship was really studying the impact of such advertising. From research done some time ago and still in print from Amazon (Source:The Inviting Church, 1987 p. 44), here is what was found:

  • 2% by Advertisement
  • 6% by the Pastoral Invitation
  • 6% by organized evangelism campaign
  • 86% by friends or relatives

from: http://www.evangelismcoach.org/2009/15-strategies-to-increase-first-time-visitors/

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if Christians really believe…

why are they afraid of me? Why don’t they tell me the truth …
(Interesting points from Penn Jillette, from teller and Penn)

“How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible, and not tell them that?”

The Sheltered Christian

My reflection on chapter 6 of UnChristian:

The perception that Christians are boring, unintelligent, old-fashion, and out of touch with reality.

The Christian culture or sub-culture, seems to be well behind the secular culture. It is not as exciting to outsiders.

The perception continues to build since many outsiders see the “moral behavior” of Christians as boring, dull, predictable, lifeless, disconnected, and a rigorous standard of rules that keeps Christians away from pleasures.

Some outsiders go so far to say that Christians do not even have room to think and act for themselves. Their religion keeps them in an insulated box.

And there are good points here that outsiders are making. Think about how much time we Christians spend together doing things together for our own enjoyment. IN OUR OWN BUBBLE!

Instead of engaging a social club, we need to be out in the world as Jesus was.
Outsiders are not aware of their main problems. The true Christian worldview is not prevalently known by all people. We are failing at explaining the problem of sin to our common men. We are failing at sharing God’s love and Gospel!
we are not in the culture creating, contributing, and fighting for good art, music, history, literature, government, science, medicine, education, and social justice. Christians have had a history of creating and contributing to culture in the past and through this they have transformed the world and demonstrated God’s love and the Gospel to others. But today we are failing at this also!

Today’s younger generations are more flexible in viewpoints, more diverse in opinion, more comfortable with just about anything…they enjoy searching for new sources of input. They/We are more protected and more safe. We like safety. Everyone is entitled to safety and their own way of life and opinion and viewpoint.

Of course, every life is messy. Sin is messy. Fortunately our God is a god who can work in the mess, in fact he works better when people’s lives are messy and out of whack.

What do we do?

As is, Christians are not sharing the Gospel enough. They do not even have time to.
We need Balance. We need to spend less time doing in church things and more time reaching out in the world.

We have a responsibility to engage culture and engage lives. We have relationships with outsiders, but are we really sharing the Gospel with them? Are we salt? Are we light? Are we being the city on a hill?
These things take time and energy, are we devoting time and energy to the lost and our outreach to them?

Love dispels fear. Do not be afraid. But let the Holy spirit work and speak words through you.

Have compassion. Expect trouble, persecution, and to be offended. But do not let it bring yo down.

Be ready at any time. God wants to use us if we are willing and ready. Listen to the Holy Spirit!
Also be ready and willing to help the desperate: the sick, the needy, in gritty, real and raw places.

We come back to the idea of balance:
We are to be in but not of the world.
Pure and proximity.
Both are important.

One of the most important things to do is to forget about having this “Christian culture or subculture”
and to simply live in (but not of) this real world.
Secondly inside of this world we all a have a sphere of influence -people we see, live with, go to class with, sit by, in real life at school, at work, and everywhere we go normally.
These people are the people God has placed in your life to talk to, interact with, and share God’s love with.

Good HomeWord Devotional (today)

Help Me! I’m Stuck!
This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.—Philippians 2:4

One day, a centipede walked by a tree where a wise old owl was perched. The owl asked the centipede, “You have so many legs! How do you know which one to move next?” The centipede froze in his tracks. He started thinking. He didn’t know which leg to move so he couldn’t move any. He cried to the owl, “Help me! I’m stuck!” The owl said, “My little friend, you are stuck because you are too focused on yourself. When you are focused on what is going on in the world around you, you have no thoughts about how to move. You simply move.” The centipede looked out to the horizon and saw the sun setting. “How beautiful,” the centipede said. Just then, his legs were freed and he began to walk again.

It’s been reported that Dr. Karl Menninger, a famous psychologist, once gave a lecture on mental health. During a question and answer session that followed his lecture, he was asked, “What advice would you give someone who felt a nervous breakdown coming on?” He replied, “Lock up your house, go across the railway tracks, find someone in need and do something to help that person.”

Both the story and anecdote above remind me that when we focus on ourselves – on our problems and circumstances – we can become inwardly paralyzed, preventing us from being everything that God intends for us to be, including serving others effectively. We can freeze in our own tracks.

Following Christ is not primarily an exercise in introspection, but rather of reaching out to others and lovingly serving them in His name. In times when I’ve been in tough situations, or have felt sorry for myself for some reason, I’ve experienced release from my anxiety by changing my focus to others and getting myself involved in serving. Routine self-evaluation is healthy. An obsession with self is not.

Today, if you are feeling paralyzed by the weight of a difficult personal situation, I encourage you to shift your focus from yourself to the Son and find someone you can serve in His name. The weight will seem lighter and you will start moving again.