Saturday, May 24, 2008

This past week

This past week I read two things a book and article that I thought were very encouraging , the first was a book titled: Experiencing Prayer with Jesus by
henry & Norman Blackaby.
this was a quick read book, and very insightful on prayer, especially as I am getting to Chapter of 6 of Matthew in my ongoing sermon serious from the sermon on the mount.
The second thing I read this week that gave me hope as a rural pastor was an article I herd mentioned on the way of the master radio station- from USA Today

Dissatisfaction, yearning make churchgoers switch

The faithful are restless, a new study of Protestant churchgoers suggests.

switching from church to church, powered by a mix of dissatisfaction
and yearning, according to the study by LifeWay Research. The
organization is part of the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist
Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

of the switchers who changed their house of worship without making a
residential move (58%) say their old church failed to engage their
faith, or put their talents to work, or it seemed hypocritical or

But 42% of the people say they
switched because another church offered more appealing doctrines and
preaching or the preacher and church members' faith seemed more

may believe in the same doctrine, the same God and study the same
Bible, but we are also imperfect human beings who mess up, who are not
always living out those beliefs," says Scott McConnell, associate
director of LifeWay Research. He adds in the rise of "consumerism and
narcissism" — when people expect to customize every experience to
personal taste.

More than half (54%) of
switchers changed denominations as well. Fewer than half (44%) said
denomination was an important factor in choosing a new church.

study, conducted in December, surveyed 632 Protestant adults who said
they switched churches. For findings on the 415 people who had not made
a residential move, the margin of error is plus or minus 3.9 percentage

The study follows LifeWay's 2006 research on 469 "formerly churched" Protestants who quit church altogether.

Of the switchers, 76% call themselves "devout Christians." Only 19% of the quitters said the same.

The nation's largest denomination, the Roman Catholic Church, sees similar trends.

boundaries that once kept people in one faith, one church, have become
more permeable," says Mary Gautier of the Center for Applied Research
in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.

number of new converts to Catholicism leveled off at about 150,000 a
year for the past decade, while immigration from Catholic countries in
Latin America, Asia and Africa has pushed the tally of U.S. Roman
Catholics to 64 million. But the church has no mechanism for tracking
who washes out of the pews unless they've died, been excommunicated or
publicly renounced their faith.

"Catholics are very sticky. They may not go to church but they still stick to that identification," Gautier says.

the LifeWay research finds most switchers move to larger churches,
don't blame megachurches for poaching the sheep, says Scott Thumma of
Hartford Theological Seminary, author of an upcoming book, Beyond Megachurch Myths, based on several studies of churches.

1,200 or so megachurches (defined as churches where 2,000 or more
people attend weekend worship) are only one-half of 1% of all U.S.
churches and account for only 5% of all weekend worship attenders,"
Thumma says.

"And my sense, after years of
examining megachurches, is that 80% of the people who join, including
those who go through new member classes, are gone within the first two

Says Brad Waggoner, LifeWay's vice
president of research and ministry development: "There's no simple
answer why people are so restless."

ago, American culture supported church loyalty out of respect for the
church, obligation to family, or social expectations. Now, he says,
that culture has shifted.

Waggoner also sees
other factors at work, such as increased skepticism or cynicism in the
wake of clergy sexual abuse or financial scandals. And some are turned
off by divisiveness in denominations over doctrine and practice, he

The Southern Baptist Convention, he
says, still feels the effect of a revolution in leadership in the 1980s
that restored theological conservatives to power. The Episcopal Church
is struggling now with dissention over views of the Bible and the role
of gay clergy.

Though individual churches and
pastors can't erase those overarching concerns, the survey suggests
there is a great deal they can change or do to stem the restless tide
of switchers and dropouts, Waggoner says.

"We have a biblical responsibility to care for every person in our flock."

Another Pastor and discussed this article with great hope in that - perhaps if USA Today is right then our better days are around the corner !

Not only Have I read this week, but it started off to a great week on the past Sunday night when with two other church's we shared a combined service , where us Three pastors spoke for 10 min. on the Trinity, being Trinity sunday
Bill who retires in less than a month Spoke on the Father, I had the Son and Reg took the Holy Spirit.
It was a great time that was served up by really good food!
But what amazed me was the Aged saint who said she never herd of the Trinity preached on Before. Assumed but never Preached on, how can we leave out such important Doctrinal Truths especially as it makes number one as what we believe in the discipline.
What have we preached - if not doctrines such as the Trinity?
I have a sneaky idea that over time we have only concentrated on specific Wesleyan doctrines to sadly leave our people mel-nourished as to the Whole Counsel of God. Yes ! and even in my church, if I mention one specific word - there are alarming sounds of Amen, but to every thing else ( as we preach through the sermon on the mount covering so many issues of godly living) there is silence.
What's wrong with this ?


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