Church Hoppers Gone Wild

Church Hoppers Gone Wild

I know we have all heard people talking about people who hop from one church to another.  Church Hoppers Gone Wild are people who habitually hop from one church to the other.

This video, in a comedic way shows a guy who prefers to customize his church going experience and since he can’t get everything at one church, he hops over to several in pursuit of having it his way.

Doing Church Differently

Are there churches who serve blueberry bagels, coffee, or have excellent greeters, or have pastors who preach to itchy ears?  Yep!

I’m not saying that churches must fall in line with what other churches are doing, but what I am saying is churches can have a completely different look, feel  and experience than what we have become accustomed to.

People are curious by nature and experiencing something new always yields an appeal.

We’ve heard many pastors from the pulpit accuse people of church hopping and even chastise them stating that they are not willing to make a commitment; there is no sense of loyalty and they are running away from accountability. Although I believe these statements are true, I believe they hold true to a smaller demographic.

This is a very common complaint heard by churches experiencing a dwindling of their Sunday morning attendance.

In the blog, Is Sheep Stealing a Form of Evangelism? we listed five top reasons why people visit other churches.The answers ranged from just wanting to experience something new to being bored or feeling spiritually deficient.

Although there are are certainly people who would rather ‘date’ a church than to ‘make a full commitment,’ AND while they may share in some crazy quirks like the man on the video, I think most people wander from their churches into the sanctuary of other churches on a regular basis in an attempt to meet a need that perhaps is not being met at ABC Church.

Church Hopping and Empty Pews – a Red Flag

If we see, before our very eyes, the evidence of more empty pews, is the answer to chastise the ones who are in the service or rather see it as a ‘RED’ Flag – a symptom of a greater problem that needs to be addressed. And think about it, the ones who are accused of church hopping aren’t even there to hear the rebuke.

The blog Is Sheep Stealing a Form of Evangelism? also addresses some suggestions in safeguarding your sheep.

A Church that is NOT Growing is Dying

Can you think of some other reasons why people church hop?

Dr. James Emery White wrote an excellent article from a different perspective on “Church Hopping” addressing those ‘hard-core’ hoppers.

As pastors or church leaders what suggestions would you give to rectify the problem of declining membership, dwindling services and empty pews?

 

 

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Criticism, the Great Teaching Tool

constructive_criticismPastors, pastors, pastors… we all like for everyone to say, “How Great Thou Art,” but let’s face it we are not always so great.  This blog speaks to those individuals that I believe God has placed in our lives to help us do our job better.

If God could use a ‘donkey’ to warn a man, then God can also use the least likely person to get a message to us.

I read an article about “5 Wrong Ways to Respond to Criticism” by Ron Edmond. I want to address his number one and that was finding fault with the critic.  Let’s face it, some people are just a ‘thorn’ in our side.  Their delivery can be insensitive or even demeaning.

Before we blow them off however, we need to ask ourselves if there is any validity to the criticism.

PERSONAL TRUE STORY.

We were once at a meeting various ministry leaders were seated around the table.  Someone asked my daughter, (the youngest in the meeting of 17) what she thought about the service.  She blurted out, “It SUCKS!”

You could have bought me for a dime as I was humiliated as I knew what people were thinking – hmm she hasn’t received any home training.

She then proceeded to tell the group why she felt the way she did. Her frustration was that the group already knew what the problem was and failed to do anything about for fear of hurting someone’s feelings.

Later she confessed to me that . . .

1) she really did not want to be at the meeting because most of the meetings were a waste of time.

2) if she was going to participate she was going to express her feelings in a way everyone would understand.

3) she was tired of sitting in meetings where everyone was superficial and were always trying to suck up to the pastor.

4) she was in school and her time was limited. She did not have time to mince words, be politically correct in hoping one could put together context clues to figure out what she was saying.

Although I agreed with her in principle, it is clear her approach was not the best.  However, her criticism was not only heard, but understood.

I believe we all need to run all criticisms through the Holy Spirit filter and ask Him if there is any truth to the criticism and ask Him to give us to courage to do the “HARD” things for the sake of the Kingdom.

This may be easier when it comes to dealing with issues relative to other people, but we need to keep in mind that the problem can also be with us.

It really makes no difference how long we have been in ministry, been preaching, how credentialed we are or what Ivy League seminary we graduated from because the culture changes.  And because of these changes, we may find ourselves in a position of having to change.

Yes the Message stays the same, but the method may need to be tweaked!

We will never have this thing down pat. We all need to be learning continually; we need more exposure and we need to continually strive to do things ‘better.’

And lastly, we need to listen to what people are saying to see if there is any validity to their statements even if they blurt out that “It SUCKS!” This criticism could be your greatest teaching tool.