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I wanted to start small groups in homes and not use SBC materials. It was one of the most devastating events of my life. I too am in pain about the things I see that cause people to leave churches and denominations because oi what I would call narrowness of mind and heart but not always theology. Violation of the unwritten rules of being a Baptist is what troubles many.

I agree completely. Then some articles appeared by SBC Men of Importance that suggested members who asked too many questions and concerns of the Pastor be told to leave and find another church. It is that kind of merciless and defensive stance that drives many of us away. I have seen it also in response to this article. But take heart, Dr.

From Bible-Belt Pastor to Atheist Leader

I have found a different stance in many new churches that are loving, open, welcoming and growing. They provide love, hope, truth and healing to hurting members of society. Thank you for your comment Gary. I am so sorry for your pain, but I celebrate your joy in your new church. All means all. Either ALL scripture is relevant, or no scripture is relevant. Much time, ink and pixels are wasted on discussing the symptoms made apparent throughout the Body of Christ, while precious little time or effort is focused on the sickness. We have speakers and coaches running all over the country telling us how to treat the symptoms.

The stories of someone leaving in anger, the heartache and broken promises, people fighting over scraps of control or prestige; these are mere symptoms of the real illness. The illness is that Christ is not the head of the local churches or sometimes even entire denominations that are experiencing decline. I weep for the Church as a whole when I hear of divisions over Calvinism vs. Arminianism vs. My heart breaks over the stories people tell about their leaving a local church family over the foolishness that happens within our churches.

The cure is simple friends. Honestly, it is. Put Christ first and leave Him as the head of the local assembly. Pray together, exhort and encourage each other. Confront the sin running rampant in the church, but do it in love. Seek guidance from the Holy Spirit. Preach about Jesus overcoming sin, death and the grave for me and you. Make disciples who make disciples for the glory of God. Grow in Christ, share your faith, and for crying out loud; express some Christ like love to one another. If the church would just focus there, all of the other issues would melt away.

God has taken of His time to provide the Church with all of the guidance we need to avoid conflict, if we are obedient to His Word; and has given us all of the guidance we need to resolve conflict, once again, if we are obedient to His Word. I do not hold with any of the Doctrines of Man i.

Calvinism, Armenianism, or any other ism. I believe that the Holy Bible, opened to us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, says it all. In the current environment we find our nation, if the Church, regardless of denomination, does not pull together in harmony, the forces of Satan, which are growing more bold every day, will rip the Church apart, leaving only a small remnant to greet Christ upon His return.

Christians are running out of time to pull the lost into the Ark of Safety. The day of judgment will be bitter for both the sheep and the goats. For the goats, due to facing eternal damnation; and for the sheep, due to seeing those with whom we should have shared the Gospel of Christ standing with the goats. This vision, to me, is the most horrible I can imagine. God Bless you in your walk with Jesus Christ! We all come from different backgrounds and personal reasons why and how often we attend church.

I attend daily Mass Monday thru Saturday at my local parish. As I know this to be true; it instills in me a very strong wanting to desire to receive this precious sacrament that draws me to the church and to the Mass like a magnet. On Sundays I am also fed with the words of God. As a Catholic convert, I look at it as my Sunday attendance with my wife at her evangelical church as my Sunday School attendance minus the Eucharist. That is how I am motivated to attend church regularly including during the week.

It may sound confusing to some but I hope it helps others be motivated to attend church on a regular basis. The southern baptist convention voted Jesus as secondary to the bible maybe if we put Christ first attendance might improve. Regarding point 5, I began doing this at my church two years ago and it has been very eye-opening.

We are a small member church. I created a spreadsheet with every single person in the church on it, as well as a slot for visitors, and I began tracking attendance. If a visitor comes three times I put them in the spreadsheet. It has been helpful to me to learn exactly who attends at what time so I am not relying on guesswork. The sheet has helped me see who attends the most, and therefore who might be good candidates for leadership and other positions.

Wow, what a great discussion. As several have stated, I believe the main reason for this falling away in attendance is relational. Not only the relationship to each other in the congregation but to God as the head of the church. When I was a kid, we believed that to be close to God you needed to be in church among many other things of course. Over a period of time this teaching has come under fire.

We have also seen the decline of the family and to combat this have told people that family should come first. Terry Reed Small Church Tools. I think this post is spot-on. I have definitely seen this in my church where I have been a member for 25 years. One of my observations is that we ask people to commit to leadership, but we give them ways to not be consistent in attendance. While there are some benefits to this, it also gives more freedom to be conveniently gone. The biggest reason for membership decline is the homosexuality thing.

We are conforming to our own rules to our satisfaction to worship God instead of the the way god wants us to worship him. The Bible says that a union of marriage is to be between a woman an a man. Be fruitful and multiply. Yes, we are all Gods children but, some of his children have a sickness instilled in their brain that makes them display this unnatural an disgusting behavior.

I have left the church as many as others have because of this issue. So get rid of the open gay an lesbian pastors, get marriage back to persons of the opposite sex. The devil has a big influence on this issue, we need to run him off. Thanks for a great article The responses are wonderful. I feel do not feel that GOD is present in our church…. Hope you can comment on this item…Thanks. R would yo run a regular column on churches that are actually discipline members? It seems that the lists are enumerations of top ten problems and I want to see some successes. By the way, by discipleship I mean equipping in practical application of biblical truth not just more biblical overviews of thing the Minister learned in seminary.

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But would like to add that many of the younger generation has fallen away from God. I myself have 3 children that have completely fallen away at this point because of reason of their own.

Is This Young Boy The Future of Religion?

I have had this conversation with many different pastors. It seems the world promotes many fun things to do besides going to church. A live now and gain what you can attitude. It is sad and it is a sign to us of the moral decay of this world. I wish that my generation was much more tougher on discipline concerning the true commitment to the Lord and the body of believers. The solution may start with having a full commitment to teaching the youth and getting them involved with activities directly with the body, the church.

Bring them up in the way………in force it above all other activities outside the church. I just read this blog for the first time. I am a Christian, but again stopped attending church. I find single males are not accepted as readily as females. For some reason single men are viewed as potential threats. So if I were to be real and admit that I have a struggle, they act like I am less of a Christian. This is common. The churches are all about the lead pastor. If I remember scripture correctly, we are to meet and a person is to give the message, then after the message is given the others are to discuss the message.

In churches today if somebody disagrees, then that person is viewed as a trouble maker. I like to corporately sing worship to Jesus. I like an inspiring message. But why go to church if the negatives so outweigh the positives. I hurt when I am treated as if I have churchian leprosy. By default, I believe that church attendance is not necessary for salvation. Belief and faith in Christ is it for salvation, but to grow and minister effectively to others, as we are called to do, having a church home is unfortunately essential.

Brother Bob, It pains me to hear that you have had a less than uplifting Church experience which has caused you to decide to terminate your association. I agree with you that many congregations in the United States are not very welcoming and that, in many cases, it can be a struggle to fit in. We can always find tares i. To quote a passage from 1 Corinthians 4 Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil; 6 rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; 7 beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Fear not, Bob. Jesus commanded us to pray in private, not publicly Matthew 6 — Do not be ljke the hypocrites who pray in the public houses of worship. When you pray, go into your room and close the door. Ranier … great article, and timely follow-up comments.

Can you fell the hurt that is out there? After 38 years of ministry, a band of bullies only 4 caught up with me as a pastor, violated their own by laws, and tossed me to the curb so they could do things their way. We must release more ministry — and hold on to less. Great article. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

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I have a question. My daughter used to live in one town. She found a church there and started attending, then met the man of her dream and they started attending as a couple. Then they got married and really had to work into their schedule to be able to attend, and that was on Sunday night. My daughter got a new job and is now is attending on Sunday morning and her husband has worked his schedule so that he can now attend Sunday morning. They are faithful. Now, they have purchased a home 25 minutes from church.

They still want to attend original church, so they can attend together. He works on Sunday and had to juggle things to get to go. Here is the thing. Is is possible, is it rude to attend one church in the AM and another in the PM. Would she split the tithe on the two churches. She has no problems, but just wonders if she would be accepted. Our church offers two different services: Sunday Morning and Wednesday Night which they call contemporary.

Because it is the most boring thing I have ever experienced in my life. We have about 6 people who show up on Wednesdays. The preacher preaches but other than the sermon, I get nothing out of Wednesday nights. We have Sunday Night prayer meetings. Nobody goes to that either. We were once a member church.

Now we have 35 members. I sense that young people today and I have three young adult children in their early twenties have a much higher sense of social justice than I did at the same age. The bells and smoke. Much easier to bang on about same sex marriage, abortion, contraception etc.

Giving up some material wealth to ensure the poorer are a little better off goes right to the heart of the Christian message. Many pastors are not called or annointed, pastoring is a pay check to them. God wants us to have a relationship with Him, not put the pastor on a pedestal. God never say in the NT you must join any church, He said assemble with the Saints and this can be at home, work anywhere not a building called a church.

Folks this is not true. Without going into details, one reason people try church and never come back is the abominable behavior of others to include the leaders! Yeah, right that packs them in! I really enjoy reading through on this internet site, it has wonderful content. Entertain or scare people into keeping their churches filled.

Some are better off praying with friends and reading their bibles alone. People can tell plastic hearts, rehearsed lines and fake smiles. People hate to be coerced, forced, toyed with, lied to and manipulated. These are blind guides. From pulpits they call them souls, but behind closed doors they are numbers, who translate into dollars. Funny enough, the author apparently has built his business for desperate pastors of the church business. It is wonderful church attendance is in a steady decline. I often wonder if one of the serious reasons for decline in church is not the choices itself.

I agree with the premise but would love to see a study with specific data on the decline in frequency of church attendance. Men and women of God should be spirit led Period. The work of preacher is to sow… God will give the growth. Your view of the Gospel is very limited. There are over 2 billion Christians worldwide and more often than not, worship God in a different way. He also was an evangelist, not a pastor. After people confessed Christ at a rally or convention, they still need somewhere to connect with people. Christianity is a co-labored job 1 Corinthians God has His job and people have theirs.

That is a myth that God will do all the work. It might be a good idea to pray more and devote yourself to scripture studying. Every twelve-year-old in America know that there is not some white guy in the sky, floating around, assisting some, and passing judgement on others. That image worked hundreds of years ago, but no more. I believe in God as much as anybody; more than most. God is the supreme wholeness and creative force of the universe; the ground of all being. Bring back something that people can easily believe in, without having to turn off their brain, and the people will return.

Finally, church messaging should be tied to specific problems that people have. Baby Boomers are drifting out of the work force and wondering what it was all about…they lack purpose. These people need to be escorted into the world of church-going with a message that is relevant to their stage in life? Articles like this are so blind.

Blame the people for not coming, lets not look at the business the church has become. Tell ya what. Stop taking a paycheck for preaching. Get rid of the concerts you put on every Sunday. Be who you tell everyone else to be. Maybe people will start coming again. Hypocrisy breeds desertion. Maybe those reasons are valid, but it might just be that church members whom are active are very dismissive to those of us who are not. The love of God which should be shed abroad in the hearts of believers in some cases only appears to be shed to those whom they know.

Unfortunately, that could be keeping a lot of people away from the church. I attended an Evang. I was appalled. A church should welcome all and serve as an anchor in the community. They are censoring the word of God and preaching only on what is convenient to them.

They never preach on end times prophecy, sin, hell or the devil. They act like we are already in heaven, but the bible tells us we are in a spiritual warfare. They worry more about pleasing people than pleasing God. And when that happens the Spirit of God will depart from that church.

Appreciating Will Campbell, “Preacher to the Damned”

Therefore, there is no manifestation of God in that church, no miracles. Preachers need to preach the word from Genesis to Revelation, or, there will be judgement. The Word says that judgement starts at the house of God. The problem with the american church is Apostasy. Those religious leaders are censoring the word of God, and preaching only on what is convenient to them. They never preach on end times prophecies, sin, hell or the devil.

They are more concerned about pleasing people than pleasing God. And when that happens the Spirit of God departs from that church. Consequently, there is no manifestation of God in that church, no miracles. Preachers need to preach from Genesis to Revelation, or, there will be judgement. The word says that judgement starts at the house of God. Point me in that direction and I will know that the Church has my best interest in mind.

Today it is so rare that the Name of Jesus Christ is even mentioned. My church is in Africa, i have been struggling with what to do to have members attend service on time. I do want you help me with ways to have them eager enough to attend on time and also be frequent in services. If we stop and discern the real problem,the church will operate as it should.

Prayer should be the first priority. Second,the house of the Lord should be honored in every aspect of attending or serving. Our culture entering it should not be tolerated. The church has compromised how God should be honored by allowing behaviors and worldly fashion being implemented into the gospel. Pastors have gone weak with this passive approach.

These are great ideas however, I have found that most churches that I have attended do not want to address problems. They just want to relate to the status quo and when it is too late, they still do not change. They really do not love people but want control and will have you either ostracized or tell you not to return if you mention any problem areas. With all due respect to the author, i disagree with the frequency being the number one reason of church decline.

Obviously, you have not ever experienced nor been the brunt of what goes on in these churches. If this is not the case, then i would imagine your blind to the painful ostrazicing goings on that these leaders in no way seem to be affected by and scatter the sheep to work out their emotional train-wreck alone, leaving them to feel doubt, discouragement, isolated and disfellowshipped… too many to list here but church for me is no longer a safe refuge away from a hostile and evil world…it looks and acts just like the world…where is the ark, away from the raging waters?

That is crazy! Church attendance is irrelevant. Too many churches promote an unBiblical form of worship and those are down right scary. Gone are the days of the simplicity of preaching the gospel. I grew up in a strong, dedicated Christian family from birth. In one year I have grown 50x more in my journey then the previous 13 years of being a Christian… long way to go but let me tell you about why I stayed in church and am where I am not. The only thing that really kept me in church was I am terrified of getting into trouble so I made sure that no matter the sin I struggled with or how the fact I NEVER read my Bible or prayed outside of church related activities I made sure that I went to church, because apparently, how much you do in the church building shows how good of a Christian you are.

We watch. You know what I saw? Our church is struggling badly, even tho I would put up the love of our church family against anyones, its badly sick, if not dying. The 30 who are left are overworked because heaven forbid we stop doing one thing less. Heaven forbid we change something or drop something so we can focus on a few things to make sure we excel in. What is the solutions? Be in your place and do your job. Be here to support your pastor and the long time adult S S teacher not be here for Jesus.

Well I followed suit. As a 22 year old I felt like I had to take the Awana commander job and fil in for people whowere out, do ggame time then quickly run out for council time. I do music Sunday morning. I held a weekly youth meeting. I was a diligent worker for Christ.


Focuswas on hard work inside the church with little focus outside of church. I tried doing more to make up f or it and make God love me more, something I felt was taught in the 3 churches growing up. I knew reading my Bible and praying was key. The problem is I viewed my relationship as a math problem. It has become discouraging to my family. I have started doing less but I am now walking with Christ daily and not just on Sunday. I have so far to go! Yet I finally understand things now. Tradition is becoming doctrine. Remember, the 12 Apostles had SO many problems yet Christ lovingly brought them along.

I am Waseem Yousaf from Pakistan. I have studied your web site, and have found it to be one of many wonderful sites offered on the internet which gets to the Truth of the Word of God. As is the case with others whom I have contacted, you have created material which is full of knowledge concerning development of religious faith. Most people in Pakistan speak Urdu, and are not capable of understanding the English language. Because of limited access in our native tongue, my people have a true hunger for fresh Christian Perspectives.

Proficient in both English and my native languages, I would like to offer my services as translator to you. Presenting your material in both Urdu and Punjabi would be a true blessing to the Pakistani and Indian people. For a nominal fee, I will enable you to bring the message of Salvation to a most deserving people. I came across an article a few weeks ago that stated the average number of times a person attends church or a service in a month is now at 1. Thanks in advance for your help! I am Tanya and i will would love to use this medium to thank and to let the world know there solution home in tense of relationship problems.

At first when i read some comment about Dr. Ekpiku on the internet i never believed that this was real but at the same time i decided to give him a trial. I must say that i was surprise that through the help of Dr. Ekpiku that my lover came back to me begging me to accept him back.

With this i was convenience that Dr. Ekpiku powers are genie and helpful to humanity. That is the more reason i am going to drop Dr. Ekpiku contact information which are Ekpikuspelltemple live. I think generally people are Sunday attendee. I have been involved in helping through the years and have enjoyed doing for everyone. But, I always felt like the Church was my Church Family. But, this has happened so many times and I usually let it go. But when it involved my Mama, it hurts. Another member, who grew up here and knows everyone and has money had the same situation as me. Her Mom passed away in the same week as mine.

Which my heart goes out to and we did take up a love offering for them. So, when I went to Church for the first time this Sunday, I spoke to the Preacher in the Foyer and he was sympathetic and I asked him to hold me up in prayer. Which I gave and just hate it for them. But, after his service, he mentioned about the other ladies Mom passing and the Fire and took up a love offering.

And if he left that last part off, that would have been fine, but to Not even acknowledge me loosing my Mama, it hurts. I have cried and cried about it. Please tell me what you think? Thank-You very much. God Bless Sandy. Sandy, I feel you should talk to your Pastor… you mentioned talking to him in the foyer on the way in to church. The morning of the service, our Pastors have a lot on their mind as Spirit speaks the message to them, several folks mention things to them, they have their own personal things they may be going through, etc.

I feel in my heart it was a a tragic lapse of remembering to lift you up in prayer. He may have been looking at you several different times to try and remember the conversation. It was very personal to you, and you said he was very sympathetic when you told him… trust in that and give him the benefit of the doubt. At the church I attend, we have a prayer and concern and praise sheet… there folks can write something down as they enter, and it gets brought up to Pastor at the beginning of the service. When you really need a one on one time to talk with a Pastor, set up an appointment to see him, you will get his undivided attention then.

There are a lot of things Pastor do behind the scenes, talking to grieving family members, visiting hospitals, counseling folks, meeting often outside of the church building where some may feel more comfortable, often things the secretary or other staff members have no idea about…. I feel our Pastors need more support and IF a problem arises, they deserve a one on one conversation about it, if that does not resolve it, bring another church member with you… to talk with the Pastor.

I pray you have found the peace and comfort needed in the passing of your Mom, I am very sorry for your loss. I find great comfort in knowing a loved one is in the presence of the Lord and how wonderful for them that must be. Prayerfully we all will know that same joy one day. Simply said , from a Christian , remember how we hold the lamb up when it becomes born in Christ? The altar call? And the sheer numbers? Are they still Christians?

Are they still going to church? Or even their names.. We as churches spend thousands of dollars in Africa , yet little or none in outreach to train lambs into Christ to become sheep.. Churches are instant gratification now , big shows and programs yet refuse to cultivate the seeds already sown. If we cultivate what we already have we can build a beautiful garden. Instead of seeking recognition for brining People to the Christ , we should concentrate on keeping the ones we have now and build loyality by teaching them how to pray , how to deal with problems with Christ and Faith , instead of looking around for other sheep..

From a foundation of sinners to kingdom Clydesdales in your church.. Just my two cents from a heathen who had to go through that.. A famine of hearing the words of God. Families with small children are set upon when they enter the building like a lamb being led to slaughter. Older people are invisible. Special needs children are a bother.

It all gets so invariably old. Simply put these places are businesses. Money and control and manipulation rule. We read Gods word, compare different views to each other and scripture in an effort to search the word daily what is true, and we respect any differences people have with each other while at the same time keeping dialog open to help sharpen one another. Sometimes this input causes me to change my mind about a subject and other times I have that effect on others. An example is I used to believe word of faith teachings on healing and though I absolutely believe in healing I no longer believe that particular belief system is biblical.

I could go on and on and all without ever darkening the door of a church with paid clergy. Generally, what is the impact on attendance in the 1 short, 2 med and 3 long term when a church moves to a new location within the same city? Obviously, there are a lot of variables.

Thank you. I realize this article is from , but I came across this article due to my current struggle. However, I feel as if church has become a show, a production. I know other people struggle with it, too. You know what I would love to see? No time limit, no man made barriers, just worship in its rawest form. Maybe THIS is one of the reasons there is a decline in consistent church attendance. Almost at once, DeWitt became a pariah in DeRidder. His wife found herself ostracized in turn, and the marriage suffered.

She moved out in June. He received a constant stream of hate messages — some threatening — and still does, more than seven months later. He played me a recent one he had saved on his cellphone as we ate lunch at a diner in town. It went on and on, telling DeWitt to go to hell in various ways. But DeWitt also hurled himself into his new role as a faith healer in reverse. It was formed in early with a few dozen members, mostly recruited through Dan Barker, a former pastor who is co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and through Linda LaScola, who in co-conducted a study of nonbelieving pastors with Daniel Dennett, the atheist philosopher.

DeWitt also became the executive director of Recovering From Religion, formed in by Darrel Ray, a Kansas -based atheist proselytizer. Like other public figures in the movement, DeWitt also serves as a one-man clearinghouse for religious doubters via Facebook and e-mail. During the four days I spent with him in DeRidder, he was almost constantly checking his cellphone and tapping out messages. There is more involved in this work than sympathy. The transition away from faith may start with an intellectual epiphany, but it runs through a difficult reinterpretation of your own past.


He later discovered that his teacher almost died while she was being born, and that she had emerged safely from the womb only after a preacher from a neighboring town was roused from sleep to offer a blessing in the delivery room. This coincidence had seemed providential to DeWitt, a sign that he was meant to be a preacher himself. How do you make sense of your life? I heard parallel stories from a number of other participants in post-religion networks. One former pastor named Teresa MacBain told me that when she began doubting her faith last year, she ran through her list of friends and acquaintances and realized that every single one of them was religious.

With no one to confide in, she began recording her thoughts into her iPhone when she was alone in the car. She was promptly defriended in the literal and Facebook sense by almost everyone she knew. But like DeWitt, she has begun receiving frequent messages from doubting pastors and churchgoers, seeking her help in making the leap away from God. That kind of abrupt excommunication is a fairly common experience, and many atheist networks — including hundreds on college campuses — become replacement communities and de facto dating services for many people involved.

He pointed to a church as we passed, then another, and another, and another. It was the first time he had attended since his apostasy became public, and he half-jokingly predicted that we would be attacked, or that the service would turn into a prayer session for our wayward souls. But he also made clear that he had no desire to hold religious doctrine up for ridicule. He wanted me to witness the emotional power of the ceremony and the music. He wanted me to understand why people are drawn to church, not just why they leave it.

The church we attended — known as Grace — was one of the most liberal in town, multiracial and less orthodox than hard-line Pentecostals. He had delivered sermons there himself, and he was known by many, perhaps most of the parishioners. Love the sinner, hate the sin. Sure enough, everyone we met was gracious, though there was often an undercurrent of unease.

The service, by my own etiolated WASP standards, was an orgy of religious passion: people of all ages praised themselves hoarse as a high-decibel gospel band and choir shook the walls with heartfelt rhythm and blues. He was a year-old man named George Glass, with a wrinkled face and a magnificent deep voice full of warmth and gravitas.

He hugged us both as we came in, chiding DeWitt for having stayed away for so long. We sat down, and over the course of an hour, he spoke movingly about his own struggles as a younger man, when he lost his first ministry and had to start from scratch. He reassured DeWitt that he understood his doubts and did not think any less of him. As we said our goodbyes at the door, Glass spoke again in his slow, Southern cadence, fixing DeWitt with his gaze.

Everyone laughed. But I did later wonder if all the public atheism had done DeWitt more harm than good. Even the old pastor, George Glass, acknowledged that others in the church had had problems with literalist claims about the Bible, and prefer not to talk about it. It is easy to see why. Open confrontation with faith, some would say, just provokes angry gestures from the faithful.

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