Friday, March 18, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/18/16
“Nobody goes there anymore.  It’s too crowded.”  (Yogi Berra)  Barna, a reliable religious research group reports that it’s about 50/50 on the importance of church going among US adults.  It’d be interesting if YELP reviewed churches as they do businesses.  The WSJ reports that there is a Mystery Worshipper who evaluates church worship experience and sends a report, designed to help churches improve.  What kind of review (+ or -) might you give?    ;-)  Jack

FROM OPTILOU:   Temple Israel is very crowded at Friday evening services.  The summer outdoor services sometimes have 2,000 people!====JACK:  Amazing!  "If you build it, they will come," can mean, "If build the right kind of service, they will come."  What causes you to attend...when you could be doing something else?====OL:   Services last about one hour.  There is a very positive "feeling", thus I feel as I have been "spiritually revived."  The clergy interacts very well with the congregation.  The temple also does a lot of community outreach and diversity projects.  A very welcoming atmosphere for members and guests!====JACK:  YELP would probably give it 5 stars.

FROM TRIHARDER:  I always use that line. And of course, I attribute it to Yogi.====JACK:  If you don't mind, I'd be interested to hear how it relates to your "religious" experience.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  White heads predominate at our congregation..We have lots of room left in our pews...a far cry from 20-25yrs ago, but with our new (woman) pastor, we are making a few gains in younger people and kids.  I think a lot of middle aged Christians do community service, but aren't so faithful about attending church, even tho it might have been a habit when they were growing up.   We need to be relevant to the times,  and some have lost that, apparently !  "Church" may look very different from the old days and ways in the near future!====JACK:  Maybe a trained laity will be leaders in the church of the future...and maybe "the church" will escape from formal buildings.  If cars will soon be driverless, but still operate, who knows what God has in store for his Church?  A "driverless" church which still gets you to where you are going?  God is an innovator.  He hasn't forgotten about the Nones.

FROM TARMART REV:  Mine would be classified as "archaic" today, as I was brought up the first 50 or so years thinking we always dressed as if we were going to something very special, honored the sanctuary as sacred, gave God our best effort as we understood that to be and were challenged as to living a holy and acceptable life before our Creator church, at least in my circles of choice offered influences is-- come as you are, enjoy your favorite brew as you experience leaders who dress in their weekly workaday apparel (even that has changed from my earlier expectation of the Senior Pastors I've worked for up to the last 10-15 years) leading in an array of worshipful choruses and sharing insightful thoughts as to overcoming the challenges of the present life hurdles. Kind of a "pick and choose" what one would want to take away from the worshipful experience and the gospel presentation.  Like I said, "archaic", but I'm still welcomed with as a an older pastor with his "once upon a time views" of church.====JACK:  You are an innovator.  When it comes to the church of the future, perhaps you have the right idea when you sit in the marketplace and engage people, instead of waiting for the hungry to come and sit in your marketplace.====REV:  Appreciate your kindness, John-- I like the "being innovative" idea, something I continue on with outreach and feeling fulfilled in ministry instead of sitting under a tree complaining!====JACK:  Were you trained in seminary to sit at Target, or to mingle with the race car drivers, or to be pastor to those who have no pastors? God had a plan when he made it possible to have "your" kind of ministry.

FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  Less talk more singing====JACK:  Singing is just talking set to music.  But I think I know the point that you're trying to make.  I've heard that much of George Gershwin's music is based on tunes that he heard in the synagogue when he was growing up.

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  a friend of a friend of mine was in Rome last year.  after walking out of St. Peter's Basilica, he turned to his friend and asked, "is this really what Jesus had in mind?"   good question... back to the house churches of the New Testament perhaps?    a lot less spent on overhead:):) ====JACK:  Perhaps stranger than that.  As the hymn verse puts it:
 "New occasions teach new duties, Ancient values test our youth;
They must upward still and onward, Who would keep abreast of truth."

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  If 50/50 is an accurate report of goers and non-goers, it would be interesting to find out what percentage of those goers are actually deeply affected by their church experience, that is, guided in their lives by the spiritual nourishment they receive there.  Personally I've been disappointed in the large church congregations where I've  worshiped .  My previous church, and the church I attend now, have much smaller membership, but the people in the congregation seem invigorated by the services, and there is more participation in church activities and social interaction with one another.====JACK:  Your comments relate to the "church of today."  Studies show that church membership is on the decline and that the number of church-goers is also declining...although many of the non-goers continue to list themselves as "spiritual."  What I'm suggesting is that the church of the future might not look like the church of  today, and that that isn't necessarily bad.  A hymn verse says, "God is not dead, nor does he sleep," so I'm not overly concerned.  But I do realize that God works through people, so his people must be alive and awake and willing to go in new directions.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:     Oh how I wish our churches were too full and we would have put out seats in the streets.  We attend St. John's Lutheran in Fraser and Ross Bible Church.  One is old traditional and one is pure Bible learning and singing.  One is what I would call "Lutheran liturgical church and one is what I call "people church" where we learn about each book in the Bible, it's background, it's meaning and what it means to us today.   We love them both but I have to admit the high litergy is so strange to me now.   I love the way the other service begins with music, then prayers and Bible study and then sermon.  It's simply worship without the formality but still manages to teach.  I would never had thought I would prefer the simple service so much.     Even though the services are so dofferent, I still find myself enjoying both services for different reasons.  One would receive a 4 and one a 5.  I think you will understand.====JACK:  Whether it be a restaurant or a church, people tend to vote with their feet.  The point that I want to make today is that a downward dip in attendance and membership does not necessarily indicate an end to the Church.  It may mean that God has a new design for his Church.  "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the mind imagined what God has planned for the future," and that includes the Church.====JUDY:  I'm not sure I agree.  When people say they are spiritual... What exactly does that mean?  Aliens, UFOs, worshipping idols, tv, etc etc.  Andy's church is very old school.  I don't see that as a viable way of worship for the next generation.  Kimberly's church is a Baptist cut away church.  They believe like Missouri Synod without the "we are the only ones going to Heaven and the old fashioned music.  They believe in God and His word.  I find it so much easier to go to the more "modern" way of worship.  I do agree there has to be a no change in the way some churches worship.  I don't think it will raise the attendance but it will keep the youth going who are their; their children perhaps also.====JACK:  One of the "faces" of God is a spiritual one.  God comes to us in different ways, and "in spirit" is one.  God can come to an individual outside of the church.  There are many who may have rejected the organized church for one reason or another, but who have not rejected God.  Perhaps a different church from the one we know and feel comfortable in will be the church of the future.

FROM JT IN WB:  I’d give it a +.  As in most things, I think if you take an active part in your place of worship you are most likely find it a better experience.====JACK:  Like with most anything, you get out of it what you put into it.

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