Monday Morning Insights

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    “Need people who aren’t Christians to review church service”

    “Need people who aren’t Christians to review church service”

    That's the title of an ad on Craig's list.  And the pay is $50 bucks.  (That's almost enough for most Christians to lie and say they weren't a Christian just to get the money!)

    Yes, this is from Jim Henderson from Seattle, who also created ChurchRater.com (which we've had a pretty lively discussion about in the comments section here).

    Other qualifications for the job?  Who: Age 20-35. Do not currently believe Jesus Christ is God. Not mad at Christians.

    What do you think?

     

    Comments

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    1. j a n on Thu, February 11, 2010

      Finally, someone is doing “market research” to actually find out how to reach their target market (non-believers). I imagine it will be quite eye-opening. Great idea.

    2. CS on Thu, February 11, 2010

      J A N:

      “Finally, someone is doing “market research” to actually find out how to reach their target market (non-believers). I imagine it will be quite eye-opening. Great idea.”

      No, that’s wrong.  The, “target market,” of worship services is not unbelievers.  The target market is God, followed by believers.  Unbelievers are welcome to come to church, but we do not do church for the lost.  Evangelism is not the primary purpose of worship.

      This sort of review may be helpful in some ways from a business/church perspective, but will not do much in terms of doctrinal and theological integrity or understanding worship from a Christian perspective.


      CS

    3. Peter Hamm on Thu, February 11, 2010

      Although I think that there is value in getting feedback, and I am actively seeking it out here, I agree with CS’s concerns.

      That said, creating a worship service that connects with people regardless of their place in life and faith and having doctrinal and theological integrity do not have to be mutually exclusive.

    4. Larry C on Thu, February 11, 2010

      All of the above is OK.  But isn’t worship supposed to be service? Isn’t the reason for meeting together to spur each other on to good works (service)?  Didn’t Jesus himself, and Paul and the apostles (particularly Peter) use gatherings to reach the gospel (evangelize)? From my limited observations, many—perhaps even most—churches who meet an hour a week only for the purpose of worship without some concern for the nurturing of the congregation and outreach to the lost rarely translate that worship in to service, consist of shallow and unlearned attendees, and rarely see results of people turning their lives over to Christ. 

      It’s the whole package ...... and probably an hour a week ain’t gonna do it.

    5. Michael C on Thu, February 11, 2010

      Maybe we should pay some unbelievers to run into our members out in the mall or grocery store and see how they rate us there smile

    6. angieb on Thu, February 11, 2010

      haha thats funny and a good idea!

      <a >Endeavor Church</a>

    7. Jessica on Thu, February 11, 2010

      I like the idea.  Considering that most church attenders give $5-$15 a week, it’s probably a good investment.  After all, if the are surprised and like it, and get engaged, it’s a good return on the investment.

      If the don’t like it, their input could be helpful.

      Simple, but effective.

    8. Will on Fri, February 12, 2010

      The wrong thing is being evaluated!  I think we should ask non-believers to evaluate how much we are making the communities around our churches more like the kingdom of God.  We need to ask them how much they see us feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting those in jails, comforting the sick.  We need to ask them to evaluate us on how much we as church are like Jesus.  We need to have them evaluate us on how much we really love our neighbors.

      Am I the only one that thinks that Jesus doesn’t care all that much about what songs we sing, how well the service flows or how long the sermon is?  If I recall correctly, when Jesus was separating the sheep from the goats, worship services were not mentioned.  Over the past decade or two we have come dangerously close to making our worship services into idols.  Huge amounts of money have been spent and are being spent to make people comfortable and to create and experience through sights and sounds not unlike the experiences I used to have when I went to rock concerts.

      I believe worship is an essential part of the Christian life, but I don’t believe what we do for an hour on Sunday morning is the most important thing we are called to do.  Do people who live in poverty give a rip about what we do inside those buildings they’ve never been in, filled with people they’ve never seen in their community?

    9. Mike Mahoney on Fri, February 12, 2010

      “No, that’s wrong.  The, “target market,” of worship services is not unbelievers.  The target market is God, followed by believers.  Unbelievers are welcome to come to church, but we do not do church for the lost.  Evangelism is not the primary purpose of worship.”

      It is in some places.  There are many churches who’s vision for the Sunday service is to make it “seeker-friendly” and to have it appeal to first time visitors.  Perhaps the plan of this church is not so much market research as finding a new way to just get people in the door to hear the Word.

    10. CS on Fri, February 12, 2010

      Mike Mahoney:

      “It is in some places.  There are many churches who’s vision for the Sunday service is to make it “seeker-friendly” and to have it appeal to first time visitors.”

      And those places are doing it wrong, too.

      ” Perhaps the plan of this church is not so much market research as finding a new way to just get people in the door to hear the Word.”

      The formula in the Bible is outlined like this:

      Go into the world and preach the Gospel -> People repent and put their faith in Christ -> They become disciples and want to go to church -> Lather, rinse, repeat.

      The formula used by seeker-sensitive churches and pragmatic ideas is as follows:

      Change the church so it appeals to the lost -> Bring people into churches through sermon series that target, “felt needs” -> Entertain, please, and wow them -> Preach the Gospel to them in a non-offensive way -> Hopefully they’ll become Christians.

      That’s the problem when we say that our, “target audience,” is the lost.


      CS

    11. Peter Hamm on Fri, February 12, 2010

      CS,

      I can’t disagree more with your characterization of seeker-sensitive churches. I consider our church service to be an integral part of “going”, and can tell you we’ve seen a LOT of people’s lives turned around and their hearts reconciled with God. The stories we get to tell around here are, frankly, amazing and miraculous.

      BUT… I agree wholeheartedly that our church service should be centered on and purposed towards GOD and worshipping Jesus! Funny thing is, I think that’s what the “seeker” wants to see!

    12. CS on Fri, February 12, 2010

      Peter:

      “I can’t disagree more with your characterization of seeker-sensitive churches. I consider our church service to be an integral part of “going”, and can tell you we’ve seen a LOT of people’s lives turned around and their hearts reconciled with God. The stories we get to tell around here are, frankly, amazing and miraculous.”

      I was quoting out of the formula that Bill Hybels used in setting up his seeker-sensitive church, more or less.  He went door-to-door to find out what people wanted, changed church to meet their desires, brought ‘em in, and did those things I listed above.


      CS

    13. Peter Hamm on Fri, February 12, 2010

      CS,

      He didn’t change church for them, although he did change the church SERVICE for them. I’ve been at their church several times for conferences and services. Jesus is lifted up. No doubt.

      Anyway, we’re getting off, I imagine…

    14. Brian L. on Sat, February 13, 2010

      One of the reasons I’d use this type of survery is to see if we are communicating our love for God, our love for people, and the Word of God in ways that are understood by everyone, including those not from a church background.

      If they can leave understanding every word of the message, and therefore not only know what the Scripture says but how they should respond to it, then that’s good.  If they leave asking if they can have a copy of the Christianeze dictionary, that’s not good.

      CS, as I’ve mentioned to you before, I don’t see “seeker-sensitive” as being “entertaining.”  To me it means getting rid of the barriers that keep people from finding Christ.

      Things like:
      - Only hymns (I don’t like “Jesus is my boyfriend” kind of praise songs, either, but that’s not what I’m talking about here);

      - people who are only friendly to each other and not to a new person, afraid they’ll be infected or something by reaching out and shaking the hand of a guest;

      - use of theological language that only serves to build the preacher’s ego and satisfy the pew warmers who don’t actually DO the Word - they just listen and think they’ve been “well fed.”

      - dress codes that make people feel that they have to have some sort of spiritual “uniform” to be accepted by God and His people.

      I want people to feel welcome, even if they’re the dirtiest sinner in the area.  I want them to find Jesus unhindered.  I want them to hear from His Word in a way that communicates their need for Him and how to respond to Him.

      The gospel is offensive enough all by itself.  Nothing in Scripture says we’re supposed to be offensive in how we present it.

      BTW, I don’t think you’ve ever said we should be offensive, so please don’t think I’m pointing fingers at you, brother!

    15. Peter Hamm on Sat, February 13, 2010

      Brian,

      good points! I think we SHOULD indeed be evaluating how we present the Gospel in light of what you say, even though I think that this site is not going to turn out to be the way that happens.

      I liked your response enough that I’m keeping it.

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