church growth seminar, 101
Just a scattered thought tonight:
From what I understand, my new denomination as a whole is losing members. They don’t know why or what to do about it. Their answer: church growth seminars, coffee shops, activity or family centers, small groups, more missions, nontraditional gatherings and a plethora of everything else anyone can dream up. None of that is necessarily bad, but I’m concerned that the idea of “it worked there, so maybe it will work here” is going to do more harm than good.
If we were missionaries, we wouldn’t sit in Siberia and say, “Oh, but in Zimbabwe this worked, so we’d better try it.” No, we’d learn the culture, the people’s concerns and interests and needs where we were called, and do our best to answer their concerns, interact with their interests, and meet their needs. Why should it be different in America?
So I’d like to say, “Sorry, I’m certainly glad coffee shops work in California, but honey, I hate break this to you, but you live in Kansas. And believe it or not, it’s an entirely different culture.”
The other problem with their many answers is that there are SO many. Instead of the leaders of my church picking one or two that might work here and going with them, they are trying the splatter gun approach, or at least approaching the situation that way–they haven’t tried any of the ideas really, because there are so many. And what has me really shaking my head is that up until this summer’s conferences and all the new ideas, they were experiencing a good amount of growth here. Because what reaches people in the end isn’t coffee shops or family centers or seminars… it’s love.