REFORMED CHURCH GROWTH METHOD


I don’t often link to Blog posts (I don’t think I do anyhow), but I thought you might like this one commenting on a Reformed Church Growth Method called ‘Open the Bible and Get Out of the Way.’

Read it at:

http://genevaredux.wordpress.com/2008/09/26/church-growth-plan-for-reformed-churches/

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BIBLE GIMMICKS


As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am a life-long opponent of the Church Growth Movement, Church Marketing gimmicks, etc. I have the occasional go at these sorts of things in this Blog from time to time.

Now I ask, ‘why reinvent the wheel when someone has already done it for you?’ I have been a long time nonconformist when it comes to Bibles – that is, the preoccupation that Zondervan and the likes have with making such things as youth Bibles, Slim-line Bibles, Green Bibles, etc, etc. I have become increasingly annoyed at the antics of such companies and how they peddle the Word of God. You would expect this sort of thing from a secular company I suppose and essentially that is what Zondervan is isn’t it? Charismatic-influenced Bible publishers you would expect it from as well I suppose, given that they have such a poor regard for the written Word of God?

But back to the question – why reinvent the wheel? I was over at the Pyromaniacs Blog a minute ago where Phil Johnson has posted some comments on Zondervan and I couldn’t agree with what he wrote more. Go and have a read via the link below. I won’t mind if you go over there and have a look J

http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2008/09/bible-as-fashion-accessory.html

CHURCH MARKETING SUCKS


I’m not too sure just what this web site is about just yet and so I need to do some further investigation of it. The title of this Blog certainly attracted my attention and so I thought you might be interested in taking a look at it. I cannot of course guarantee the content of it:

http://www.churchmarketingsucks.com/  

FREE FUEL FOR CHURCH ATTENDANCE


This is sure to get them in – free fuel for attending church. The Congregational United Church of Christ of Valley City was giving away free fuel for attending church during the vacation season in the United States. Spirituality must be thriving in that particular church.

The pastor of the church regarded the promotional effort as a complete success because it got mentioned in the newspapers and was spoken about around town. Is this the new measure of success in Christianity?

Yet it not the only church offering free or discounted fuel to get people along to church. It is one of the latest gimmicks in user friendly and church growth movement churches in the United States.

One church in the United States even cancelled a worship service, bought $10 000 of fuel and sold it at a discounted rate – that was its service for the day rather than worshipping God. The church decided to serve the people.

Read more at:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26425283/

SEX SERMONS… THE LATEST US CHURCH GIMMICK


According to newspaper reports in Australia, an American Baptist pastor has created a website promoting his latest gimmick, Puresextucson.com. Pastor Jeremiah McDuffie created the website to promote a series of sex sermons and issues related to Christians as a consequence of sex.

According to McDuffie, he wants people to know that God wants them to have good sex and that he wanted to begin an open dialogue on the subject. He has also sent postcards to promote the sermon series and website to some 35 000 homes in Tucson, Arizona.

The Element Community Church is hosting the sex series and the flashy website introduction points you to the church website for more information.

The idea of teaching God’s people about the right place of sex in their lives is something that has enormous merit. However, it is the gospel that remains the vehicle for bringing in the elect, and faith and repentance the means of gaining salvation in Christ alone, which are gifts of God’s grace.

By promoting sermons on sex, McDuffie and the Element Community Church may very well get a large number of people along to their church and even gain a number of people that will continue to attend. But will they gain the unsaved for Christ by doing so? Again, it is the gospel that God uses in bringing salvation to the elect and not a series of sermons on sex. Having a whole group of people hanging around the church simply because their interests have been titillated will do nothing for their well being and may in fact cause great harm to the church itself.

Sadly, this exercise of the Element Community Church would appear to be just another gimmick in the American church as is typical of the Church Growth Movement. Browsing the church website would also lead one to think that the Element Community Church has drunk fully at the Church Growth Movement trough and imbibed its tragic spirit.

Indeed, the church website has a link to McDuffie’s Blog site, in which he actually praises Rick Warren, one of the founding fathers of the modern church growth movement.

http://puresextucson.com/

Pub Church


Well, it had to happen and now it has. It would seem that American gimmicks-style Christianity has now well and truly reached Australian shores. An Australian Anglican Church in Stroud (with a rich history) has begun to hold services in the local pub ~ not that the building itself is the wrong place to hold church services. However, an argument could be made about the ‘appearance of evil’ I suppose. In this case however, the patrons of the pub (or church) will be able to have their beer while attending church.

All of this is meant to get more people along to church – to get people who wouldn’t normally attend to start coming. It all sounds typical of the ‘church growth movement’ type approach to church doesn’t it? Make sure you give unchurched Sally or whoever it might be, what they want and they will come to church.

Clearly their are many dangers with this type of approach, including the obvious of letting the world infiltrate the church and the church become ‘polluted’ by the world and its practices. Fairly soon you will be unable to differentiate between ‘Christians’ and those at church who are unsaved. No longer are Christians interested (so it seems anyhow) in being ‘apart from the world,’ ‘from being different to the world,’ etc. Now we must appeal to the world in order to be accepted by the world and to increase our numbers – yet the irony of all this is that no matter how many people still of the world begin coming to church or even attach themselves to the church, the church will still be no bigger than it was.

True salvation includes separation from the world and its values, and no attendance of church services without true conversion is worth anything to anyone in the light of what really matters.