How would you change your/the church?

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Carolla

wondering & wandering
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And sometimes young people have told me that they want a church that keeps up with modern politics and/or provides charitable outreach. Those same people haven't really looked to notice that.....we do all that!
So, in this, I would turn it around. If the church considers itself well engaged - but the community does not notice that - is it all the fault of 'those who do not look to notice? Is it possible that the practices the church considers to be within this realm perhaps not actually perceived in that realm by the community? When you look around the community - what activities are 'non-church people' engaging in that might be in this realm?
 

Carolla

wondering & wandering
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The hard change is getting members to bring the church into the community, to build relationships with non church people in the community. I frequently challenged members to ask family members, friends, or neighbours to church events, not necessarily worship. Ion some congregations I invited them to consider creating a church pin they could wear when they were volunteering or participating in community activities. This was seriously considered at Deep River and abandoned when Covid hit. The pin would need to be distinctive without being flashy.
I like your idea of a small pin that people might wear. It might be a starting point for conversations.

And I totally agree that getting people OUT into the community can be a huge challenge. To move from the 'attraction mindset' to a 'service mindset' can sure take a lot of persistent work.
 

KayTheCurler

Well-Known Member
It is hard to join a club that doesn't particularly want you. They may help if you are obviously 'needy' and require their services. If you are much like them they seem not to know what to do with you. They have enough hands for the regular jobs, they aren't interested in new initiatives -etc.. I have heard people say they got a more positive outcome from showing up at a service club.
 

Mendalla

Agnostic pan(en)theist gorilla
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It is hard to join a club that doesn't particularly want you. They may help if you are obviously 'needy' and require their services. If you are much like them they seem not to know what to do with you. They have enough hands for the regular jobs, they aren't interested in new initiatives -etc.. I have heard people say they got a more positive outcome from showing up at a service club.
As I have said in the past, a lot depends on the church. They are not all like the ones you have dealt with. When I started going to the Unitarian Fellowship, I noticed that the website was a bit of a mess. They accepted my offer to work on it (this was in the days before content management systems and software like Xenforo made websites easier to maintain without having to learn HTML and such) well before I even became a member and soon I was editing the newsletter and leading services, too. That's how a church should welcome an offer of services or skills from a new member. I fail to understand a church, esp. in this day and age of shrinking congregations and talent pools, that would brush off such an offer.

Being unchurched at the moment, I am not sure I can really answer the thread's question, but a lot of the discussion has touched on themes I would want to see in my next church, whatever faith/denomination it might be.
  • Welcoming to new members and their skills/offers of service
  • Actively reaching out and seeking opportunities to offer service in the community
  • Actively Affirming/Welcoming, meaning there is outreach to LGBTQ+, participation in Pride, etc., support of their causes and initiatives rather than offering marriage services and tolerating their presence
  • Actively welcoming and assisting/reaching out to other minorities and disadvantaged groups (BIPOC, disabilities, etc.)
  • Listening to the membership, community, above groups, rather than just talking at them
  • Non-creedal (goes without saying) and focussed on fellowship, learning, and service rather than proselytization or doctrine.
  • Minister as a guide, advisor and mentor, NOT as an authority figure
  • Democratic, as far as possible, transparent governance with a structure that is open to input and questioning from all members, not cliquish, closed and secretive
 

revjohn

Well-Known Member
If mainline churches lost 5 million members and evangelical denominations grew by two million in the same period, this is a net loss for the Christian tradition in the USA.

Some would call this rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Anecdotally, I have heard that evangelical denominations in Canada are also losing members.
Exactly.

Reg Bibby has been making the same point in the Canadian context for roughly 40 years.

Christianity recycles disciples more than it grows new ones.

At least that is true at this point in North America.
 

Mendalla

Agnostic pan(en)theist gorilla
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That has been my sense of things over the years (influenced by Bibby and others, of course, as well as some person experiences). The evangelicals only grew by attracting people who were already identifying as Christian, so no actual overall growth occurred. The shrinkage in the main stream churches was mostly people leaving (like myself, my little brother and some of my friends), not shifting to other Christian churches (like my middle brother). Of course, some of the "leavers" may still identify as Christian, just not able to find a church that suits their faith so sitting on the sidelines.
 

Luce NDs

Well-Known Member
Some of us slip out so as to enter the humble domain and the powerful Christians don't like it if we don't pay homage to them ...

That's the sous IC Ide ... some say the martyrdom of light ... and everything goes dark ... could be the clouds and pall of all the burning substance ...

Is there a great escape theory? --- Ste Phini! One's head is forced to swim ... hoping we come up on the other side ... crocs do it! Reptilian brains should remain down and out of sight ... the dragon gesture ... St George?

Explain to me how much can be obscured in myth!
 

KayTheCurler

Well-Known Member
Exactly.

Reg Bibby has been making the same point in the Canadian context for roughly 40 years.

Christianity recycles disciples more than it grows new ones.

At least that is true at this point in North America.
Hasn't that been true for a long time? As a youngster my mum moved from Congregational to Methodist before ceasing to attend. As a teen I knew several RC's who became Anglican. More recently I know of some Anglicans who became UCCan. Locally, a "Bible believing' congregation split, split again and again. In the meantime Ukrainian, Polish and Russian based congregations faded away.

A few weeks ago a twenty ish church attender said it would be nice if congregations behaved like Sikh Gudwharas (spelling alert)..
 

Mendalla

Agnostic pan(en)theist gorilla
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A few weeks ago a twenty ish church attender said it would be nice if congregations behaved like Sikh Gudwharas (spelling alert)..
Would be interesting to know what they found appealing about Gurdwaras. I have never looked that closely at Sikhism, but it has always been a faith that I admired more than I was interested in participating in.
 

KayTheCurler

Well-Known Member
Would be interesting to know what they found appealing about Gurdwaras. I have never looked that closely at Sikhism, but it has always been a faith that I admired more than I was interested in participating in.
I don't know much about it either, and I doubt the young person did either. However, I have heard quite a bit of admiration for their communal meals. The thought of gathering together to cook, and feed whoever shows up seems appealing.
 

Mystic

Well-Known Member
Rick Warren is a southern Baptist whose purpose driven-church grew from nothing to one of the largest in North America. His Gospel
philosophy is "Go first--then equip," recognizing that getting members to actually go is the hardest sell. His church prides itself in having sent ministry teams to each of the almost 200 nations in the world. Once they return, they are fired up enough to seek more adequate training. His inter-faith efforts to fight disease in Africa have earned him the chance to deliver key-note addresses at national Muslim conferences. What progressive pastor has received such an offer? Of course, his evangelical critics have accused him of starting a new religion called Chrislam, but he remains true to his Southern Baptist faith. What energizes such enthusiastic and comprehensive ministry? Something most progressives lack--a vibrant personal relationship with Jesus Christ.







diseas





























outreach efforts
have gotten him the chances to give a key-note address to national Muslim conference.




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BetteTheRed

Resident Heretic
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What energizes such enthusiastic and comprehensive ministry? Something most progressives lack--a vibrant personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Isn't that exactly the root of the residential school system? We have something you do not/cannot have. I spit on your evangelism.
 

Mystic

Well-Known Member
How typical of Progressives to spit on" evangelical efforts to curb diseases like AIIDs Covid, and malaria just because such compassion is used as a tool for discipleship ministry. In fact, Warren has found the best antidote to cure what revjohn refers to as UCCan "sit on your ass" syndrone.
 

Luce NDs

Well-Known Member
Best way to get rid of the initial power is to cut them right out of life as it incarnates ... that's Ide!

May seem somewhat canonical ... or even cannibals' ... cannibal like? Para sitter ...

SET 'ere a bit so we can observe the enigma ... said the Shadow from the imaginary land ... twas nothing my grandfather stated ... and thus it started!
 

Carolla

wondering & wandering
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I don't know much about it either, and I doubt the young person did either. However, I have heard quite a bit of admiration for their communal meals. The thought of gathering together to cook, and feed whoever shows up seems appealing.
"Selfless service" and "love for all" are core values in Sikhism - and there seems to be consistent effort to embody these, particularly noticeable in times of disaster response on a large scale (as recently seen in BC), but as Kay mentioned every gurdwara will have food available to anyone who arrives at their door, with frequent community meals being offered.
In my personal experience, our churches' ability to respond to disasters is often more in the cheque writing realm - also helpful, but different IMO. Preparedness planning is often about its own building & people. There is one organization in Toronto I think that works with churches to develop disaster response plans - I have no idea how many churches have taken them up on it tho. Is it something your church may have done?
 

revjohn

Well-Known Member
Hasn't that been true for a long time?

It has been true for a long time. It is also well documented in academia.

It is a truth that doesn't publish many headlines or advance many agendas.

It could have come out of the mouth of Captain Obvious but some people need the narrative to be different. That the Church of Christ advances the more rigid it gets rather than the more loving it is.

That is the language of empire and when you are the top dog you don't just walk away from it. Even if the King you claim to worship and serve doesn't have a Kingdom from this world.

Humility is still for losers I guess.
 

Luce NDs

Well-Known Member
It has been true for a long time. It is also well documented in academia.

It is a truth that doesn't publish many headlines or advance many agendas.

It could have come out of the mouth of Captain Obvious but some people need the narrative to be different. That the Church of Christ advances the more rigid it gets rather than the more loving it is.

That is the language of empire and when you are the top dog you don't just walk away from it. Even if the King you claim to worship and serve doesn't have a Kingdom from this world.

Humility is still for losers I guess.

Humility is a enigmatic thing .. so strange it went underground ... to hide in a dark shadowy place ...

It is said that the less elite in empires usually have to learn in the catacombs ... like the Roman slaves ... from where the word sacred, hidden, etc. originate ... up and coming?

There is instability in the decision over when enough is enough ... thus pathology; painful studies?
 
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