Copycat – Implement Proven Strategies from Other Churches

Conventional wisdom says to be a ‘copycat’ is bad, especially when it comes to business, ministry or church affairs. “Spend time identifying

 

copycat your uniqueness” we are told.I don’t know about you, but I wasted a lot of time, energy and money being preoccupied with discovering my uniqueness.

A retired pastor friend of a 1400 member church once told me that every year he and his wife go on a vacation. He allows his wife the privilege of choosing the vacation site. Once she has made the final selection, he would seek out the ‘largest’ Christian church in that area to attend worship. Before you consider him to be so holy, I asked him why he did this. He told me that he was there to ‘OBSERVE.’

“There is a reason why that church is large and is attracting so many people,” he replied.I asked him what he observes. He told me ANY and EVERY thing.

I Am A Church Member – On Every Book Shelf!

I am Church Member

Reasons I Liked the Book

I like this book for several reasons. To list a few: it is small, simple, easy to read, practical, inexpensive and it has some great insights. Some of the content makes for some great discussions in small groups.

FIRST Read The Introduction

Many of us dive right into reading chapter one, but in this case I STRONGLY recommend reading The Introduction for it sets the stage for the chapters to follow. The introduction includes a story of the interaction between two different types of church members. If you are a seasoned church member I am sure you will be able to relate.

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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Churches Not Growing are Dying

church empty pews

We need to explore why our pews are empty and resolve to ‘FIX’ the problem.

I was in the nail shop and sat next to a woman probably in her late 60’s who was finishing up.  She had her hands in the dryer.

We greeted each other and began our small talk.  She asked politely, “Where do you go to church?”

For African Americans headquarters is usually the church.  So in our culture, this question is ‘commonly’ asked.

I answered her.  She then asked me how many members we had.  I told her about 300 members. She leaned back on her chair saying, “Whew, that’s a ‘big’ church.”

I never really saw my church as a big church especially since on Sundays it wasn’t uncommon to have a few empty pews.  I told her that we had two services.  Her body language was such that I thought we were hot stuff.

I was merely trying to suggest that it took two services to get to 300 people.  I figured I would take the pressure off me and ask her about her church.  She told me the name of her church, her pastor and added proudly that she was born, raised there and had been there all of her life.

Familiar with the area, I asked her how close was she to the popular XYZ church.  She told me that they were right across the street from ‘that’ mega church.

I couldn’t resist, so I asked her how many members did her church have.  She replied, “Uh, 100 or so.” Because of her body language and tone I believe 100 was a stretch from reality.

Then it came, unsolicited, I may add, “Our pastor knows all of us by name.”

I went to a workshop once where a pastor of a mega church stated that if your church is not growing conversely it is dying.  No church wants to be known as a dying church, but sadly many churches across America are dying.

What does this suggest?  The answer is that many of our churches are not doing a good job of evangelizing.  Many of us are simply not inviting people to church.  As pastors, for the sake of the Kingdom, we need to ‘bite the bullet’ and explore this dilemma, but many of us are afraid of what it will uncover.

A district superintendent visited one of the churches he was responsible for tricycle-236108overseeing.  He noticed that most of the people in attendance were in their sixties and seventies.  He asked his pastor why there was not even one young person in church when on his way to church he passed a playground filled with kids and stepped over a tricycle on the way into his church.  The pastor had no response.

The truth is that many church aren’t interested in growing their congregations.  They are happy with status quo and with their pastor knowing their names as if that were some real badge of honor.

THE ‘G’ WORD. I am sad to say that even in our church although evangelism is a very high priority, we have been silenced when it comes to publicizing the ‘G’ word.  “G” stands for ‘Growth.’

Growth makes the masses scared.  It suggests loss of intimacy, a loss of control , a loss of identity or even the possibility of being lost in the crowd. So what is the answer? How do you manage this dilemma?

A church can not survive the test of time on membership in their sixties. Soon, if not already,  the church will be funded by pensions, social security and disability checks. The duration may last longer for the church that is paid off and in somewhat good repair.  However, let’s not forget we have to pay the pastor along with his or her benefits.

We all must come to terms with the fact that our churches are either growing or dying. We need to do an assessment and ask the question, ‘why aren’t we growing and then resolve to put measures in place to attract others to our churches.

Why do you believe many of our churches are dying?