Saturday, September 03, 2005

Church...Who Needs It?

Just thought I'd share the following outline that I'll be using with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays in their Baseball Chapel services on Sunday, September 4th:

Ask people why they don’t attend church and you’ll get lots of excuses:

- The sermons aren’t relevant, they’re too short, they’re too long, they’re too shallow, they’re too deep
- The preacher is too young. He’s too old. He doesn’t relate well
- The pews are too hard. They’re always asking for money
- They sing too many old hymns or too many new choruses
- I don’t have time. I don’t know where to attend
- They’re not friendly enough. They’re too “in your face”.

Ask ballplayers and you’ll get an equal number although differing:

- I just want to relax & spend time with my family in the off-season
- People won’t leave us alone at church because of who we are
- I don’t know which church to attend

If children spend 30 hours a week in school learning the Three R’s can’t we spend 1 hour in church learning how to live & how to die?

The Church, the Body of Christ, was instituted by Jesus Himself. He said He would build His Church (Matthew 16:18) and He has been adding to it every day since it began on the Day of Pentecost. The apostle Paul traveled throughout Asia preaching the gospel and founding local churches where new Christians could worship God and be instructed in their Christian faith. Much of the New Testament was written by Paul and is a handbook for new believers.

The local church was established so Christians could:

- Worship God
- Be taught Christian doctrine and principles
- Fellowship with other like-minded believers
- Impact their communities in a positive way

What to look for in a church:

- Is the teaching biblically based?
- Is the church active in helping others in the community?
- Is the church committed to discipleship?
- Is the church meeting the needs of my family? Is the style of worship condusive to me and my family?
- Is the church committed to world missions?

Notes from George Barna, Christian research analyst:

- 40% of men & 50% of women in America attend a church service on a typical weekend, not including special events (weddings & funerals)
- Married people are more likely than singles to attend church in a typical weekend: 53% versus 37%. (2005)
- Adults who attended church regularly as a child are nearly three times as likely to be attending a church today as are their peers who avoided the church during childhood (61% to 22%). (2001)
- Adults who attended church as a child are nearly 50% more likely to pray to God during a typical week than are those who did not attend church as children. (2001)

“They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”- Acts. 2:42,46-47

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