The Main Reason People Leave Your Church

All Saints

Thom Rainer has recently blogged on the main reason people leave your church:

Numbers of gifted persons and organizations have studied the phenomenon of the church “back door,” the metaphorical way we describe people leaving the church. And there will always be the anticipated themes of relocation or personal crises. We should recognize those issues, though we can respond to the latter more than the former.

But all the research studies of which I am aware, including my own, return to one major theme to explain the exodus of church members: a sense of some need not being filled. In other words, these members have ideas of what a local congregation should provide for them, and they leave because those provisions have not been met.

Certainly we recognize there are many legitimate claims by church members of unfulfilled expectations. It can undoubtedly be the fault of the local congregation and its leaders.

But many times, probably more than we would like to believe, a church member leaves a local body because he or she has a sense of entitlement. I would therefore suggest that the main reason people leave a church is because they have an entitlement mentality rather than a servant mentality.

Read the rest here.

Responsive Prayer: No it’s the church actually

Church Actually

We used this responsive prayer by Krish Kandiah as part of our response to thinking about our local community at our Churches Together service for unity and prayer on Sunday, it worked really well, and maybe worth you keeping for a future occasion:

This was a “call and response” part of my sermon – I asked the questions and the audience replied “No its the church actually!”

Do you know who provides half of the parent and toddler support groups in the UK. Is it Surestart? No, it’s the church actually.

Do you know who provide the biggest network of debt couselling across the UK with 190 drop-in centres? Helping over 19 141 individuals last year alone? Is it Martin “Moneysavingexpert” Lewis? No it’s the church actually.

Who is it that donated 72 million hours of volunteer work to social initiatives last year estimating a contribution of 1.5 billion pounds a year? Was it the National Trust? No it was the church actually.

Do you know who will feed 100 000 hungry people this year in the UK is it the Redcross? No it’s the church actually!

Do you know who brought hospitals, schools, universities and democracy into our country? Was it the Vikings? No, it was the church actually!

Who invented Aston Villa, Birmingham City, Bolton Wanderers, Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Queen’s Park Rangers, Southampton, and Tottenham Hotspur Football clubs, was it the Football association? No it was the church actually!

When the doctors, the police and the social workers move out of an area and go and live somewhere else who is that moves in ? Is it Richard Dawkins and Militant Atheists? No it’s the church actually!

Who is it that is the hope of the world, is it NATO? No, it’s the church actually!

Megan Fox on Speaking in Tongues

 

Megan Fox

Megan Fox is best known for her role in films like “Transformers”, but in an interview with Esquire, she’s talked a bit about her faith, the church she’s been attending and speaking in tongues.

The actress revealed that she first began speaking in tongues at the age of eight, growing up in a Pentecostal church in Tennessee.  Fox, who gave birth to a son last September, said she is making church a priority these days.

In the Esquire feature story, she described what it feels like to speak in tongues:

“It feels like a lot of energy coming through the top of your head – I’m going to sound like such a lunatic – and then your whole body is filled with this electric current. And you just start speaking, but you’re not thinking because you have no idea what you’re saying. Words are coming out of your mouth, and you can’t control it.  The idea is that it’s a language that only God understands. It’s the language that’s spoken in heaven. It’s called ‘getting the Holy Ghost.'”

She also talks about how she’s seen “crazy things happen.”

“I have seen magical, crazy things happen. I’ve seen people be healed. Even now, in the church I go to, during Praise and Worship I could feel that I was maybe getting ready to speak in tongues, and I’d have to shut it off because I don’t know what that church would do if I started screaming out in tongues in the back”

Just as interesting are Fox’s musings on being a sex symbol.  While her photo shoot for the magazine suggests she hasn’t exactly turned a corner, she talks like she has. “I didn’t feel powerful,” she says of her time spent as Hollywood’s go-to teen-boy bait.

“It ate every other part of my personality, not for me but for how people saw me, because there was nothing else to see or know. That devalued me. Because I wasn’t anything. I was an image. I was a picture. I was a pose” …

 

Franciscan Friars want you to text your prayers

HOLY NAME PROVINCE TEXT A PRAYER

Just a month after Pope Benedict XVI launched his official Twitter account, other representatives of the Catholic faith are giving new meaning to the term, “religious text.”

The Holy Name Province, self-described as the largest group of friars in the USA, announced that they are now accepting prayer intentions via text.

Called “Text a Prayer Intention to a Franciscan Friar,” the program encourages participants to text the word “PRAYER” to 306-44, according to a release. Senders will then receive a welcome message inviting them to submit their prayer intentions. After they are sent in, participants will receive another text confirming that their prayer has been received and will be prayed for.

Father David Convertino, executive director of development for the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province, said in a statement:

“With technology changing the way we communicate, we needed to offer people an updated way to ask for prayers for special intentions and needs either for themselves or others”

I see this as a great use of technology, an organisation which has existed for years, which many would see as irrelevant offering a connection in a thoroughly credible manner. Do you think text messaging is a good way for religious bodies to connect with their followers? Discuss in the comments below.

UK’s first Atheist Church opens

Atheist Church

Stand-up comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans will bring together a godless congregation in The Nave in St Paul’s Road, Canonbury for services – with wedding ceremonies and funerals for non-believers even on the cards.

News of the church, which will meet on the first Sunday of every month starting with a service on the Feast of Epiphany on January 6, comes after the census results revealed last week that nearly one in three residents are atheists.

Mr Jones and Ms Evans, a musical improv comedian who had a BBC Radio 4 show called Showstopper, came up with the idea for The Sunday Assembly after agreeing they liked many aspects of religion but didn’t believe in a god.

Sanderson Jones, recently became the first person to sell out the Sydney Opera House by personally selling all tickets by hand, told The Islington Gazette:

“We thought it would be a shame not to enjoy the good stuff about religion, like the sense of community, just because of a theological disagreement.  It’s part atheist church and part foot-stomping show. There will be a speaker on a theme each month but there will also be an awesome house band, which Pippa will lead. We’ll be helping people try and stick to their new year’s resolutions in the first service.”

The comics will invite speakers to talk on a theme every month, starting with children’s author Andy Stanton, who writes the Mr Gum series, on the topic of beginnings. Future guest speakers include fellow comedians Josie Long, Lucy Porter and Arthur Smith.

Mr Jones added:

“We all should be ludicrously excited every single moment to be alive in one of the best countries in the world. If the church becomes a useful place for others, that would be a good thing. We just want people to feel encouraged and excited when they leave.”

But the Rev Saviour Grech, Catholic parish priest of Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church in Amwell Street, Finsbury, said:

“How can you be an atheist and worship in a church? Surely it’s a contradiction of terms. Who will they be singing to?  It is important to debate and engage with atheists but for them to establish a church like any other religious denomination is going too far. I’m cautious about it.”

It does leave me slightly confused as to why you would imitate a Christian service, but try and do it in the theological perspective of atheism, and deeply ironic to do it in an ex church.  What does anyone else think?