Saturday, July 21, 2007

Why people leave churches

Dr. Richard J. Krejcir, a church consultant, in his "Why Churches Fail -Part 1" article says that in his study of over 1,000 churches for more than 10 years, he found that people who leave a church other than to move out of the area do so because of:

  • Conflict or gossip in the church
  • Hypocrisy and judgemental attitudes and actions of the leadership
  • A lack of hospitality or concern
  • Unwillingness to deal with sin.
    People need a place to feel at home and to grow in their faith; a place that helps them cope with the sins of the world -- their sins.

Krejcir says that we should be stressing:

  • Prayer
  • Bible literacy and it relevance
  • Discipleship

We should avoid trying to add "consumers" of Christianity to the pews instead of participants and disciples. He says we go for what's glitzy, what's popular, what the most "mod". We concentrate on dumbing down worship to the pew-sitters instead of encouraging the congregation to worship God. We put the focus on ourselves instead of God, he says.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

ReligioNews blog changes

The "sidebar" (right column) items on this blog are not set in stone, nor is the design for that matter. Over the past months I have moved the order of the sidebar sections as well as added and deleted some links.

Today I added "The Revealer", a daily review of religion and the press, to the "Methodist, Other Blogs" sidebar section. For example, today's main feature at The Revealer is "Fundamentalism's Colonial Drag", which also links to the original "Newsweek" article.

So remember to check the sidebar links for changes now and then.

I'll try to remember to plug new features in the blog. For example, I'm excited about some new features being tested by Google right now, including an install poll (survey).

Monday, July 02, 2007

To robe or not to robe

Dave's albMatt, a United Methodist pastor and author of the Catching Meddlers blog, asks if wearing of robes can get in the way to communicating the gospel message. John the Methodist, author of Locusts and Honey blog, picked up on this and his entry has over a dozen comments already.

My two cents -- if a particular vestment gets in the way of communicating with the pastor's current congregation, change the vestment. It's the message that counts, not the garment. Or as my Dad used to say, it's the potatoes that count, not the potato sack.

Some congregations may feel that wearing of robes is being "overdressed". Heaven forbid [pun intended]. Others may have a tradition of the pastor wearing robes in winter and a suit or even less casual in the summer. Others may prefer a less formal vestment such as an alb or even just a clerical shirt and collar.

The key appears to me to be the pastor and congregation arriving at a "dress code" that does not distract nor detract from the spiritual message being delivered via the worship service.

I did find David's comment at the Catching Meddlers blog educational:
"... the robes traditionally worn by Methodist pastors are known as "academic robes" and are testament to their accomplishments in that arena. To me, an alb is a symbol of humility and service that does more to link me with the congregation rather than to highlight how "smart" I am."

Faith videos

Christianity Today has a slew of videos about faith. Though they sell them, you can watch a small version online for free. Some examples: