Saturday, December 18, 2010

Riding a Bus is Like Going to Church (part 1)

Imagine for a moment one day being faced with having to ride the bus to your destination. For some people this is a welcomed change, but for others it arises out of an uncomfortable need. Think of the questions that could run through your head...

"Will I even fit in with those people? What if I get on the wrong bus?
"Is it easy to figure out how to get where I need to go ?"
"Will the driver be helpful or judgmental?"
"How and who do I give my money to?"
"Will it be something I become more comfortable with?"
"What will it feel like on the bus? Will it be clean?"
"Who will I sit next to?"

In the next few posts I want to unpack the similarities of riding a bus for the first time and going to church. I will break the posts down into five topics, The Need, Overcoming Fears, First Impressions, Fitting In, and Telling Others.

We can learn a lot about our churches and how visitors feel and then remove some of the barriers that prevent people from coming back.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Attracting a Crowd or Making Disciples

What has happened to the spiritual landscape of the American Church? Why are we declining in new people coming to faith, and also in “membership” numbers in many churches?

I believe that the push to become bigger has not made us better. “Bigger IS NOT Better, but better is better.” I do not believe that God has called us to attract large crowds to measure our success, but rather to make disciples. Too often we are content with filling up seats with butts, because in our economy, “butts=bucks.” But what if bigger was only a by-product of better?

Let me explain…

Jesus tells us in the great commission to “make disciples.” Even Jesus, during His time on this earth was spent building a few to reach the many. Jesus had no problems with attracting a crowd, as a matter of fact, He often intentionally weeded out those who were just consumers and not sincere followers. His whole mission was to make disciples. He did this by identifying those who would sincerely follow. These men were faithful (not perfect); they were available, and they were teachable. They were F.A.T (faithful, available teachable).

Jesus built the success of the church on people who would go do likewise. The church is people and as we go we will grow. It really is more about sending rather than seating. Attracting a crowd is not the goal only a by-product of making disciples who “go”, “baptize”‘ and “teach”.

The church was meant to grow, but large crowds are not the litmus test for growth, but rather making disciples. I want to close with a quote from Robert Coleman from his book, The Master Plan of Evangelism.

A few people so dedicated in time will shake the world for God. Victory is never won by the masses.”