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Church Expectations

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
    We're not looking for a megachurch. One Sunday we went to one church to try and discovered it was bigger than we realized. We didn't even bother going in. I'm guessing we're looking for a church with a 100 to 300 person membership.

    I have gifts and talents that I would like to use and I think would benefit a local church. Unfortunately it seems these days the only talent most churches want me to exercise is pew warming and check writing. Too many churches have their programs and no way to deal with people that don't fit into them. For example, many churches are pushing small groups. Getting my wife to join a small group is going to be close to impossible. Also when I join a group, I'm not looking for free therapy. I was looking at one church's website at their men's group and it sure read like a small group therapy session.

    I am looking for community. I am looking for people to do activities with. I hope to find a place where if there is something I want to do or pursue, I don't end up being by myself because no one else is interested. So certainly I want a church that strives to do both care and nurture of its members and outreach to the community.
    That actually sounds very thoughtful, Monk.

    I agree that most Churches seem to not take the time to get to know a prospective member individually, so I have always tried to do an "in home" meeting (difficult under the current circumstances) and find out what it is they need or want.

    I learned some times back just to ask basic questions and let them talk.

    What led you to our Church?
    What is it you're looking for?
    What are the things you like to do in a Church?

    I don't do it in a preset presentation or inquisition - often, the answer to one question leads to another.

    When somebody tells me "I've been hurt by another church and I just need a place to heal" - then I tell them I understand, and 'they can do that here'.

    One time, we had been praying for a music leader, because ours moved out of state, and I was visiting in a home. I asked the man what it was he liked to do, and his wife said, "he loves to sing, and he loves to lead music". He was our music leader for the next 4 years!

    I wouldn't have known if I hadn't asked.
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since youíve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?Ē

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
      That actually sounds very thoughtful, Monk.

      I agree that most Churches seem to not take the time to get to know a prospective member individually, so I have always tried to do an "in home" meeting (difficult under the current circumstances) and find out what it is they need or want.

      I learned some times back just to ask basic questions and let them talk.

      What led you to our Church?
      What is it you're looking for?
      What are the things you like to do in a Church?

      I don't do it in a preset presentation or inquisition - often, the answer to one question leads to another.

      When somebody tells me "I've been hurt by another church and I just need a place to heal" - then I tell them I understand, and 'they can do that here'.

      One time, we had been praying for a music leader, because ours moved out of state, and I was visiting in a home. I asked the man what it was he liked to do, and his wife said, "he loves to sing, and he loves to lead music". He was our music leader for the next 4 years!

      I wouldn't have known if I hadn't asked.
      You seem more in touch with people than some pastors are around here. My wife and I went to one church (I think about 100 people attending service) twice and the pastor never noticed or took the time to talk to us. It's not like it a huge church and he missed us. The congregation did seem a little self-absorbed. I think they believe we're saved and that's all that matters.

      I should have added Rogue's Gospel/Bible based emphasis as well. One would think that would go without saying. Unfortunately these days, you have to take the time to actually say it.

      I was also looking through some of my writings and found the following. I wish I had dated it so now other than I know it's a few years old, I can't remember some of the circumstances referred to. I titled it "Letter to a Church I Would Like to Attend"

      I want to come. Really, I mean it. I get the need for Christians tobe together. That I donít is probably more a reflection on me thanyou. However, let me explain what you do to make it harder for me tocome and join.
      In the 30 years Iíve been in thiscity, Iíve been a member of 4 churches. Two have closed. One hasgone into a rapid death spiral and I donít believe it will be opena year from now. The last is a mainline church that is slowlydeclining into oblivion. I know dying church bodies. Iíve beenthrough it enough times. Iím sorry that I donít want to gothrough that again.
      You are not a Laodicean church. Iwonít bother with you if you were. I perceive you as an Ephesianchurch Ė while you do many commendable things, youíre leavingyour first love. Yes, you do many good things. Your members care foreach other like I have not seen in awhile. Since youíve started theprocess of leaving PC(USA), you donít abide false teachings. Butwhere are you going from your first love?
      May I suggest you are leaving forMoralistic Therapeutic Deism? The five points it teaches are: A godexists who created and ordered the world and watches over human lifeon earth; God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other,as taught in the Bible and by most world religions; the central goalof life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself; God does notneed to be particularly involved in one's life except when God isneeded to resolve a problem; and Good people go to Heaven when theydie. This is the teaching of The Shack.
      "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

      "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
        You seem more in touch with people than some pastors are around here. My wife and I went to one church (I think about 100 people attending service) twice and the pastor never noticed or took the time to talk to us. It's not like it a huge church and he missed us. The congregation did seem a little self-absorbed. I think they believe we're saved and that's all that matters.
        I've had to ask our church members to understand that I need to catch visitors on Sunday Morning after the Church Service - I used to have several people "cut me off" (in a very friendly loving way, of course) as I stepped off the platform, to talk about something, but visitors are generally "ok, it's done, let's leave". So, that takes some 'education'.

        I should have added Rogue's Gospel/Bible based emphasis as well. One would think that would go without saying. Unfortunately these days, you have to take the time to actually say it.
        Agreed.

        I was also looking through some of my writings and found the following. I wish I had dated it so now other than I know it's a few years old, I can't remember some of the circumstances referred to. I titled it "Letter to a Church I Would Like to Attend"

        I want to come. Really, I mean it. I get the need for Christians tobe together. That I donít is probably more a reflection on me thanyou. However, let me explain what you do to make it harder for me tocome and join.
        In the 30 years Iíve been in thiscity, Iíve been a member of 4 churches. Two have closed. One hasgone into a rapid death spiral and I donít believe it will be opena year from now. The last is a mainline church that is slowlydeclining into oblivion. I know dying church bodies. Iíve beenthrough it enough times. Iím sorry that I donít want to gothrough that again.
        You are not a Laodicean church. Iwonít bother with you if you were. I perceive you as an Ephesianchurch Ė while you do many commendable things, youíre leavingyour first love. Yes, you do many good things. Your members care foreach other like I have not seen in awhile. Since youíve started theprocess of leaving PC(USA), you donít abide false teachings. Butwhere are you going from your first love?
        May I suggest you are leaving forMoralistic Therapeutic Deism? The five points it teaches are: A godexists who created and ordered the world and watches over human lifeon earth; God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other,as taught in the Bible and by most world religions; the central goalof life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself; God does notneed to be particularly involved in one's life except when God isneeded to resolve a problem; and Good people go to Heaven when theydie. This is the teaching of The Shack.
        Gonna come back to this --- my grandson is at my daughter's house, and he wants to shoot my AR-15. I'll be back!
        "Neighbor, how long has it been since youíve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?Ē

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
          Gonna come back to this --- my grandson is at my daughter's house, and he wants to shoot my AR-15. I'll be back!
          He must have a captive audience.

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
            Before Covid-19 began, my wife and I found ourselves between churches. With Covid-19, going around looking for a new church isn't really possible. So I've been using the time to reflect on what I want from a church. My wife is more "I'll know it when I see it." I've also been doing some reading on my personality type. One thing I found out that feels true is I will feel out of place no matter the situation. It helps explains why I have trouble setting and dealing with expectations.


            So, help me out. What are reasonable expectations for a church? The service is easy: Bible based and God centered. This you can research anymore by go to church website and listen to a couple sermons. I'm thinking of the community and non-worship service times. So what do you think: what's reasonable for the other 6 days and 23 or so hours in the week from a church?
            Edited by a Moderator

            Moderated By: Bill the Cat

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            Last edited by Bill the Cat; 09-17-2020, 11:12 AM.
            ...WISDOM giveth life to them that have it. (Ecclesiastes 7:12)
            ...the ISLES shall wait for his law (Isaiah 42:4)
            https://philippinesinprophecies.wordpress.com/

            Comment


            • #21
              Well, starting with the books of Acts and going forward, a local church has been built by men. The issue has always been how much they allow God to assist in the process. Around here, the answer is not much. I think 2 Timothy 3:5 "having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people." sums up my area local churches pretty well and how I should respond.

              I am also well aware of the difference between Church (the true saved believers) and church (the local version which includes both the saved and the unsaved). We are members of the Church but are called to be members of church for mutual encouragement and building up. The struggle around here is finding a church that is trying to manifest Church.
              "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

              "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
                Well, starting with the books of Acts and going forward, a local church has been built by men. The issue has always been how much they allow God to assist in the process. Around here, the answer is not much. I think 2 Timothy 3:5 "having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people." sums up my area local churches pretty well and how I should respond.

                I am also well aware of the difference between Church (the true saved believers) and church (the local version which includes both the saved and the unsaved). We are members of the Church but are called to be members of church for mutual encouragement and building up. The struggle around here is finding a church that is trying to manifest Church.
                Is this the post to which you would like a response?
                "Neighbor, how long has it been since youíve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?Ē

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                  Is this the post to which you would like a response?
                  Here's the section you indicated you were going to come back to.

                  I was also looking through some of my writings and found the following. I wish I had dated it so now other than I know it's a few years old, I can't remember some of the circumstances referred to. I titled it "Letter to a Church I Would Like to Attend"

                  I want to come. Really, I mean it. I get the need for Christians to be together. That I don’t is probably more a reflection on me than you. However, let me explain what you do to make it harder for me to come and join.
                  In the 30 years I’ve been in this city, I’ve been a member of 4 churches. Two have closed. One has gone into a rapid death spiral and I don’t believe it will be open a year from now. The last is a mainline church that is slowly declining into oblivion. I know dying church bodies. I’ve been through it enough times. I’m sorry that I don’t want to go through that again.
                  You are not a Laodicean church. I won’t bother with you if you were. I perceive you as an Ephesian church – while you do many commendable things, you’re leaving your first love. Yes, you do many good things. Your members care for each other like I have not seen in awhile. Since you’ve started the process of leaving PC(USA), you don’t abide false teachings. But where are you going from your first love?
                  May I suggest you are leaving for Moralistic Therapeutic Deism? The five points it teaches are: A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth; God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions; the central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself; God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem; and Good people go to Heaven when they die. This is the teaching of The Shack.
                  Gonna come back to this --- my grandson is at my daughter's house, and he wants to shoot my AR-15. I'll be back!
                  "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

                  "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post

                    Here's the section you indicated you were going to come back to.



                    Gonna come back to this --- my grandson is at my daughter's house, and he wants to shoot my AR-15. I'll be back!
                    Ah, OK --- don't know specifically what I was gonna say - seems like ages ago.

                    I just think people look for churches for only a few reasons...
                    A) They're needing help, salvation, encouragement, they've been wounded, then want to be healed, etc.. (They need to be ministered to)
                    2) They're looking for a place where they can serve (They need to minister)
                    C) They just need a place to hang out while they figure out who they are and what they want to do with their Christianity / Spirituality

                    Sure, there may be more, but that seems to sum up what I've experienced.

                    I've had an odd thing happen the last few months. One of the larger churches in the area seems to be having some internal problems - I don't know what they are - but we've had THREE families join from there, and this past Sunday we had a fourth family visit.
                    They politely expressed dissatisfaction with their current church, not giving any details (and I didn't pry) but said they felt at home in our Church.

                    Right now, I'm wondering if I have any obligation to speak to that pastor, to see what I can do to help, or if I just need to be quiet and allow them to implode.
                    (SIX families have joined a nearby church from there - so that's quite a drain on membership)
                    "Neighbor, how long has it been since youíve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?Ē

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                      I've had an odd thing happen the last few months. One of the larger churches in the area seems to be having some internal problems - I don't know what they are - but we've had THREE families join from there, and this past Sunday we had a fourth family visit.
                      They politely expressed dissatisfaction with their current church, not giving any details (and I didn't pry) but said they felt at home in our Church.

                      Right now, I'm wondering if I have any obligation to speak to that pastor, to see what I can do to help, or if I just need to be quiet and allow them to implode.
                      (SIX families have joined a nearby church from there - so that's quite a drain on membership)
                      Regarding this part of your response, I'll admit my first reaction was for you to stay quiet. After thinking about what Scripture says and the parable of the Good Samaritan specifically came to mind, I decided you should get involved in some way. The Scriptures are just too clear about if a Christian sees a problem they are suppose to help.

                      If I may suggest, although I think you know most of this already, I would first gently talk to the four families and try to get a feel for what happened. I'm guessing a simmering church issue finally turned into conflict. It certainly related to my personal experience when the church I was a member of at the time had internal conflicts escalate and about half the church including me walked out the door over the next 3 or 4 months. I'm not saying you should get details but enough generalities to have a feel of what you're stepping into.

                      You could speak to the pastor about how you might be able to help. I'll admit he may react that you are stepping into his turf and feel threatened. Not sure how to bring this up without bringing up the four families and inadvertently putting them in the middle between you and him. You haven't described if you have any contact or relationship with him in the past so I'm in the dark on what further to say on this. Again while you probably already know this: you are coming to bring healing and help to the members and staff but the organization may be damaged beyond repair.
                      "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

                      "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Thanks, TM -- cogitatin' on this.
                        "Neighbor, how long has it been since youíve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?Ē

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                          Ah, OK --- don't know specifically what I was gonna say - seems like ages ago.

                          I just think people look for churches for only a few reasons...
                          A) They're needing help, salvation, encouragement, they've been wounded, then want to be healed, etc.. (They need to be ministered to)
                          2) They're looking for a place where they can serve (They need to minister)
                          C) They just need a place to hang out while they figure out who they are and what they want to do with their Christianity / Spirituality

                          Sure, there may be more, but that seems to sum up what I've experienced.
                          I certainly fall into all three of those. I think "C" is the most important right but that's by a nose.

                          What strikes me is none of these 3 points get preached very much. I think one outcome of Christian growth is a person should think less and less of themselves and more and more of God and others. Unfortunately too much of today's preaching is the pastor had this experience and learned this and then tries to bring God in at the end. I'm not sure the last time I heard a sermon that said do this because it's what God commands/desires no matter how you feel or that you'll be without reward (at least on this earth) for doing it. I think the result is members that are focused on themselves and not able to minister to others (unless it makes them feel good.).
                          "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

                          "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post

                            I certainly fall into all three of those. I think "C" is the most important right but that's by a nose.

                            What strikes me is none of these 3 points get preached very much. I think one outcome of Christian growth is a person should think less and less of themselves and more and more of God and others. Unfortunately too much of today's preaching is the pastor had this experience and learned this and then tries to bring God in at the end. I'm not sure the last time I heard a sermon that said do this because it's what God commands/desires no matter how you feel or that you'll be without reward (at least on this earth) for doing it. I think the result is members that are focused on themselves and not able to minister to others (unless it makes them feel good.).
                            My sermon this morning was Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians, Chapter 2, commending the church and condemning the Jewish Nation of his day. Basically, three levels of "receiving Jesus"...
                            A) Receive Jesus as Savior (personal relationship)
                            2) Receive the teaching of the Bible (doctrinal)
                            iii) Receive the Christlikness of being more like Jesus
                            (Not necessarily 'one after the other' - particularly in regards to 2 and iii)
                            "Neighbor, how long has it been since youíve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?Ē

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by rogue06 View Post

                              First and foremost I want it to be Gospel/Bible-based, with the emphasis there as well.
                              I think this is almost the most important. I've come to realize that being in a community that actually believes God exists is first. I suppose you could argue that being Gospel/Bible-based implies they believe God exists and you're probably right. I think my disappointment is coming from belong to churches where if you could see into the pastor's heart who would find he doesn't believe in God and everything is just him meeting the job expectations. As I reflect on it, the last church I belonged was probably a church where the people had ceased to believe in God but didn't want to admit it and they got pastors who know how to preach that.
                              "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

                              "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post

                                I think this is almost the most important. I've come to realize that being in a community that actually believes God exists is first. I suppose you could argue that being Gospel/Bible-based implies they believe God exists and you're probably right. I think my disappointment is coming from belong to churches where if you could see into the pastor's heart who would find he doesn't believe in God and everything is just him meeting the job expectations. As I reflect on it, the last church I belonged was probably a church where the people had ceased to believe in God but didn't want to admit it and they got pastors who know how to preach that.
                                I hope you found a better church

                                I'm always still in trouble again

                                "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                                "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                                Comment

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