Monday, September 21, 2009

Poll Question

I have a poll question that I would love to get your feedback and responses from.

Question: What do you feel is the number one factor in getting somebody who is not involved in church to come to be a part of a church experience (service, group, etc.)?

I know there are some generic answers out there, but try to really think about deeper than the surface level. Allow for the surface level answer to be explore further to see if there is a root to it. Also, just because an answer are popular answers doesn't mean they are the only answers. 

Questions to think about as you try to come up with your answer: what was the biggest factor in your involvement in a church? what was your biggest factor in staying away from church? 


  1. I think the biggest factor is finding a place where you can become connected and be comfortable. I think for most people that includes a church who reaches out to them; first by doing so without the mindset of getting this individual to their church, but with the sole intent of beginning a relationship with this person and learning "their story." Second, by not condemning them for their past, their current lifestyle, or the choices they make; but by learning why they have chosen or still choose certain beliefs or actions. Third, by showing them the things they CAN do as a Christian rather than preaching to them all the things they CANT do.

    So, My answer in short is RELATIONSHIP. A true - genuine relationship with that person regardless of their current standing with God or church.

  2. Good thoughts Shawn. I think these are very insightful.

  3. I think the biggest factor to overcome is fear. More specifically fear of investing in something that seems to good to be true and being let down. People think to themselves, "when every other aspect of life leads to a let down then why should church be any different?" I think people genuinely want to believe but are afraid to.

    I believe that the answer to this is trust. Life, people or even someone in the church may knock me down. But I have come to trust that God and His church will ALWAYS be there to lift me back up.

  4. Brad, you are very right. I think fear plays a big part. I wonder how we can help people to overcome those fears? How do we help them to trust or better question: how do we as Christians and as churches become more trustworthy?

  5. Number one factor of someone not involved in church, to become part of the church experience? Thats million dollar question right? I actually just talked to a guy I do business with who is Jewish (not practicing the faith). He told me his wife is Christian and his boys go to church (Southern Baptist) but he does not see the importance in his life.
    I began to tell him of my faith and what God has done for me and my family. I told him that religion is irrelevant but God is real and desires a relationship with him. So I stole some lyrics from FM Static and told him that, "I was to scared to start, now I'm too scared to let go." at one time myself.
    The number one factor is that people need to hear first hand that God is REAL! Not some mythological being. He spoke as if God might be. He wanted him to be real, I could tell by how he talked! People need to see REAL Christians serving a REAL God!
    The number one factor are the bonds we form with each other everyday. That person to person intercation is where the Kingdom will "forcefully advance."

  6. are we talking about believers being involved or non-believers...those are things that make it two totally different things in certain thoughts...

    I think if we are talking about non-believers I don't think it's about getting them to come to church or be involved at church..I think it's first about being involved in their that doesn't mean hanging out at strip clubs or something..but it could mean going to say their child's teeball game or going to play some basketball with them...
    As a non-believer until they realize their need for Christ..there is essentially no need for church..

    As far as believers go...our biggest thing is this..we wanted relationship from church and we were a part of church for almost 4years and could never really build relationships..except for maybe one other family...we want real community..also...I want to be a part of a church that have authentic believers that are going crazy in wanting to grow for Christ and chase after Him...we want people that really are trading in the things of this world for the things of Him...the more we talk to our friends who are believers and are not in church those are some of the biggest reasons...

    Just some thoughts for now.

  7. Having had both friends in the world of non-believers and non-attending church believers, it always boiled down to relationships that I had established with them. Based on our relationship they would come to a place of worship because they believed I truly cared about them and earnestly showed that my beliefs was my life and not just a part of it. They were not looking for something to fill another segement of their life...they were looking for meaning to their lives.

  8. Ryan, Josh, James - very nice thoughts.

    Ryan, you are right on when it comes to those who walk with God to live as an expression of the realness of God.

    Josh/James, building those authentic relationships are irreplacable aspects of sharing the faith and inviting others in the life of the church community.

    Do you guys think that generic invitations (i.e. marketing, internet, etc.) can work?

  9. I grew up Catholic, went to Catholic School for 8 years. I was introduced to the Baptist religion through my husband. I couldn't handle the fear factor that is the fire and brimstone way of teaching. Then we went to big Baptist Churh and no one was friendly so I felt it was cold, even though the Pastor did a great job teaching. Having 3 kids we visited many Churches and I never had a sense of belonging. When we first went to the Journey u could sense that this smaller Church in it's infancy, was warm and not intimidating and most importantly used the Bible as a guide to everyday life and problems we all encounter at one time or another. This gave u guidance on how to handle things in a Godly fashion, by putting your trust in him not in other things or yourself. Also, it wasn't about money money money, it was more about loving people and communicating with them. Most people love to talk about themselves and by listening to them u can win over their soul and can introduce the Lord without them feeling pressured. By living in the walk with God and showing your love for him in everything u do, people will be more open to listening to the message of God's Book. The Journey is very real with it's teaching and I foresee that no matter how big they become, that they will stay grounded in the Word and not in the numbers they will succeed and bring many people to God. People want to feel loved,important and not judged or overwhemed with too much to quickly. For people to trust us they must see us do what we say we will do and not make excuses when we can't do something,and being honest as to why. Honesty goes along way and as the saying goes our ACTIONS speak ounder than WORDS. Erik is good at telling it like it is no matter what is popular with the flesh he sticks with what is right and that is what this world is missing.. They say when u do what is right for the right reason everything else will come in time. Never loose site of what is RIGHT..

  10. Erik you asked if generic invitations can work?

    Well I think it really depends...but for the most part I'm going to say no....for the simple fact I think sometimes it brings people for the wrong reason...

    Now don't get me wrong I realize that God can work however He sees fit..but the invitations that I've seen that mean the most and are beneficial and actually pull in people that are searching are the personal invitations...

    I think if we as the body of Christ have to rely on big marketing tactics bring people to the church then that says alot about our personal walks with Christ...if our lives aren't speaking loud enough for us to ask some one to come to church or we aren't living in such a way as people want to know what's different then I think the all the marketing tactics etc...are just waste.

    I know that might seem harsh...but yes my parents invited me to the church..but ultimately it was you pastor erik taking the time sitting down with me and asking what was going on in my life and inviting me to just come check it wasn't a facebook invite it wasn't a promo video or even a sermon title that caused me to want to come it was getting a chance to hang with you and hear what God was doing in your life...

    So my thing is this: Live our life loud enough in Christ that our relationship with Him speaks volumes about Him and people want to come b/c of that...

    I think it was Andrew who was known as the disciple that people came to or brought people to if they wanted to know Christ...he's not spoken of much in the Bible and isn't a a "loud" voice but still that was what he was known for....

    That's how I my life is and how the church can be!

  11. I think you have to use any marketing tool available such as Facebook, Twitter, videos, etc... This due to the primary factor that our relationships as a society are so superficial and lack any true interaction. Some people in this generation believe if you are not friends on Facebook, then you are not friends at all. The internet and media sources such as those above have become the mainstream of connection and interaction.

    With that being said I believe a Church must use any available resources to promote Christianity and the Church itself including our members.

  12. I agree with Shawn that I do believe we need to use the tools that are before us! Don't get me wrong on that...

    I was at a youth conference the other day and heard one of the vendors say that they were not on facebook nor twitter and thought that they were childish stupid things and waste of time and didn't see the importance..I wanted to tell him he was an idiot..b/c well I have seen some great things come out of these for professing my faith etc..

    I think we just need to live a life that shows Christ and no matter in what for example...I might leave a post on twitter or facebook about something God is showing me and then I might leave a post about going to church etc..and a series that's going on...well so far I've only had people continue conversations based on the posts I've left about what God's showing far nothing to do about the posts about going to church or the sermon title etc...

    Hope that makes a little more sense as well

  13. I see what you are saying Josh. I have noticed the same trend with some of my posts that you have experienced. I wonder if there is something me and you are missing or if it is a consensus? And I also wonder if possibly our posts are reaching them but they don't feel the need to respond with a post of their own since it is a general invitation?

  14. Can generic advertising work? Sure! But just like in business you have to know your target and decide what type of marketing you are doing. Shotgun vs. a Rifle! Are you branding? (generic church wide) or specific (Need God?) type? Most Christians are prone to pushing specifc style but you have to be careful with that because that type of generic advertising feels, dare I say...CHURCHY! Has to be heart felt branding style with an answer to peoples problems in a language they understand that does not sound like the 80 year old minister at their Grandmas church!

  15. Great thoughts everyone. I'm loving the dialogue here.

  16. at shawn we might be missing something or we might far the people that have asked about the church have said they asked based on scripture posted or something of that nature not the generic invites etc...

  17. Just brainstorming at this point: Can we as Christians avoid using generic invitations just because it may not be producing the mass results we are seeking? My thoughts behind this is if it gets one person or one family to attend our church and they become a consistent attendee then the invitation served as its purpose.

  18. @ shawn..I agree I don't think we avoid generic invitations...I just think we don't need to rely on them too heavily....

    It seems alot of times we spend so much time invested in the marketing/inviting of people that we leave little time for actual investment in their always becomes a focus on what's the next biggest and best thing we can do to get people in...we then invest large amounts of time & money into it...when we could be investing that time in actual physical relationships with people and spend some of that money helping physical needs...

    From what I've been a part of here at the Journey I don't think that's the case. Which I'm glad.

    I do know that generic invitations etc..can work for certain things...I just think alot of times we become lazy or complacent in using those tactics b/c it means we can become comfortable..we end up letting that generic invitation or marketing material speak for us...b/c of fear of rejection or fear of actually having to do something for Him.

  19. Good convo Josh! If you read Erik's original poll and then look at our responses we have just now come back to the primary focus and the initial answer to his question. Relationship with people outweighs any invite or marketing tool available. So RELATIONSHIP is the number one factor in getting someone who is not involved in church to come be a part of a church experience.

    We need more conversation like this and more people involved! It has been interesting and enlightening for me.

  20. We live in a world that see media as its source of knowledge. Some things do not produce fruit at once and one has to decide if there is a need for the long haul. But for me this Scriptures sums it up best.

    John 4:39-42 (New King James Version)

    39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His own word.
    42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ,the Savior of the world.”