Archive for Pastoring

Why Do They Leave the Church?

Posted in From others... with tags , , on October 10, 2012 by johnfom

A theory by Matt Redmond on a subject I’ve blogged on previously.

From Matt Redmond:

Here is my theory – one reason why so many people, young and old, leave the faith is no one is helping them think about what the great majority of what their lives are made up of.

Christianity is given (sold?) to us, in the main, as a life of evangelism, morality and church activities. Evangelism is painful for most people. Morality is great but there are always unbelievers who are more moral. And church activities, even when profoundly helpful, are another spinning plate in already busy lives…

Usually, our work is seen as just a means of evangelism or make money for those doing the real work of the kingdom in other lands…

But let’s face it, outside of the Lutherans, who is talking about work and vocation?
Read in full: Why Do They Leave the Church?.

See here for my previous rant:  Why men hate going to church.

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Why men hate going to church | Christian News on Christian Today

Posted in From others..., Rants with tags , , , on September 9, 2011 by johnfom


Drawing men to the pews may not be as simple as cutting sermons short and throwing out the cringe-making church talk

via Why men hate going to church | Christian News on Christian Today.

Although the linked opinion piece is light on practicalities, it at least leaves you with a counter example, and re-raises a couple of ideas (re WWI, etc) which I haven’t heard for a little while.

If I were to add my own perspective, I’d be looking to point out that churches tend to be run by men for women.  As such they end up not really being satisfactory for anyone.

*Warning: Gender stereotype zone begins*

The reasons for men leaving the church, or just never really setting foot in one, has occupied my thought on and off for close to 15 years now.  I don’t know that I’m any closer to a ‘silver-bullet’ for the problem than when I started, but one thing that does keep cropping up is credibility.

Too many churches seem to have an aversion to genuine challenges to their orthodoxy.  There is an almost palpable fear of probing questions.  Surely, if Jesus is ‘the truth’ then there is nothing to fear from difficult questions.  Churches should be encouraging questions, not offering cliched answers, about suffering, evil, war, politics, euthanasia, abortion, gender, justice… just about everything.

Instead, it’s my experience that some, admittedly learned, guy gets up the front, spouts on about ‘the right way to look at’ some verse or issue, (usually saying the same thing over and over again), everyone says ‘hear, hear’ and goes home to forget the sermon and get on with their lives.  Once in a blue moon the minister/pastor/priest will accidentally say something which gets to you for a while, but that’s relatively rare (sorry to all those who labour over their weekly homilies).

Blokes tend to like to make things, and when they make things they ‘stress test’ them.  You put up a swing for your 20kg kid and you’ll probably jump on the swing with your 80+kg mass (or in my case 100+) just to make sure it’s strong enough.  Put up a shelf and you’ll find yourself hanging from it for a few seconds to check that it won’t fall down under the weight of the half dozen glass trinkets your wife wants to put on it.  When you’re looking to buy a car you’ll check out the crash test info just to make sure it’s tough enough to withstand any other family members practicing their ‘parking by braille’ (of course, we blokes are awesome drivers and never inadvertently curb wheels or bump up against carpark walls) .

Some of the best times I’ve had with other men were times when we were testing out some new boat, or car, or pool, or whatever… putting it through it’s paces to find its limits

My advice to those who want to attract men to church… make your sermon simple and solid.  Then invite all and sundry (really invite, don’t just fling out a rhetorical invitation)  to help you to hit itwith everything they’ve got, and when the smoke clears, whatever still stands is worthwhile.  Stress test your sermons, and let the rest of us into ‘the shed’ to help you do that.

*End gender stereotype zone*

On love…

Posted in From others..., Soundbite Philosophy with tags , , on July 16, 2011 by johnfom

I define love as not just an emotion but an action that helps others achieve some possibility.

…if you had to objectively measure the love in someone’s heart, what would that look like? I think it would look like increasing choices and possibilities for others. – Kevin Kelly (Founder of Wired magazine)

via Geek Theologian | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction.

You and me

Posted in Soundbite Philosophy with tags , on July 5, 2011 by johnfom

I don’t want to be you. I don’t want you to be me. What I want is to see you be the best ‘you’ there is, as measured by those things you deem to be worthy

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