how to really get people to church

how to really get people to church cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward
“How To Really Get People To Church” (drawing by nakedpastor David Hayward)

The church can tweak. Adjust. Shift. Evolve. Grow. Shrink.

We can strategize. Use gimmicks. Appeal.

But I believe a more fundamental transformation is upon us. It’s not something we are in control of either. I personally believe it is going to look more like a death and resurrection. Which is why the church is resisting what is upon us so vehemently.

I mean, who wants to die?

MY ART is available!

"Nice vid David - hilarious! We'll miss you and wish you all the best! (and ..."

nakedpastor’s goodbye video to patheos
"Good idea! I look forward to exciting developments at your own site. I like Patheos, ..."

nakedpastor’s goodbye video to patheos

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Let’s see. Consider how to really get people…

    — to Boy/Girl Scouts

    — to Hunting and Fishing Clubs

    — to Sporting Events

    Yep, all that stuff is important.

    Community is community. Just depends on what sort of community you want as for what kind of bait you throw out. Religious bait works more poorly over the last decades. 🙂

  • Cecilia Davidson

    While community IS the big thing, churches and religious groups in general feel the need to offer a purpose for their practice. However, with the increase in therapy and alternative means to practice spirituality, the bait has to be altered so to get people to come to (or come back to) the services being offered.

    “Need to find your way through this world? How about you come join us for some Gospel readings and songs of praise instead of doing walking meditations guided by your Thich Nhat Hanh audio book?”
    “Angry at circumstance? Grieving? Come talk to our pastor instead of a therapist!”
    “Not sure if you want to believe in a deity? Oh well, enjoy our coffee and donuts!”

  • Cecilia Davidson

    Sabio, while community is the big thing that gets people to STAY, religious organizations (on a parish or more universal level) have to give people a reason to first visit that isn’t just “your friends are here.” It’s not just community being offered, but a mainstream form of closure, group therapy, and finding a purpose.

  • And actually, I think the internet is one of the biggest reason for fall in church numbers.
    The internet does two important things:
    (1) Community: as related to the post — it allows community of like minded folks without having to give up 1/4 of your time off each week, drive across town or get dressed up only to have perfunctory nice talks with lots of fake smiles. Well, that is only how church is for some folks.
    (2) Knowledge: evidence exposing the foibles of religion are now readily available.

    However, real community (f2f) is important — it will be interesting to watch what evolves.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    While true that face to face community is important, I think it’s important to emphasize a third option on why the Internet may have altered religious practice:
    (3) freedom to explore ideas.

    BTW, how do you get your text to have those formats? I tried BBCode and I am guessing it’s using html?

  • Proposing that the ultimate love everyone is striving for (or should be striving for) might be real and have had a human face many centuries ago.

    Friendly greetings from continental Europe.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

  • @Cecilia:
    I definitely agree with #3!

    Yeah, it is HTML that I use to spice up the comments. Check out my post here on how to use it. Hope it is useful.

  • In theory, Christianity is an belief system available to all people regardless of their particular ethnic or socio-economic “tribe”. Therefore there is the potential that going to church could give people the opportunity to mingle with diverse people that are quite different from themselves. In practice, though, many churches tend to attract congregations that tend to be somewhat “the same” and many church communities fear diversity and “the other”. In a diverse world when certain communities fear diversity, these “sameness bubbles” will tend to get smaller and smaller. I think that if churches could change their inner psychology and embrace diversity, they could grow their numbers. They could start by not being obsessed with all these social issues like gay marriage and such.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    Good luck with that

  • Justin Meier

    What is the change? What does transformation look like? Shedding all my preconceived notions of church, I ask “what fundamentally makes a Christian Faith Community?” Not here to argue, generally interested to learn.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    a fair question, but what makes ANY community?

  • Justin Meier

    That is part of my baggage/ issues… I have an inherent belief that christian communities have some different qualities than others. And because I am so programatic, I think many of the qualities/characteristics that I would list may not actually true characteristics.

  • Mark

    Or, they could get out in front of the social issues, which is what I think Jesus was telling us.

    I’ve never gone to a church where there was ethnic diversity. I have always gone to churches where there was economic diversity. Like you said, the ethnic diversity should have been there, and would have been a great way to get to know and relate to people of other cultural backgrounds. But it didn’t work out that way, unfortunately.

  • Mark

    Feeling sick? Need healthcare? Forget Obamacare! Come to us for faith healing!

  • Cecilia Davidson

    “No thanks, I don’t think prayer cures the flu”

  • Livin

    When I was in Korea the older adults talked about how hard it was to keep younger generations going to the Buddhist temples.
    It is about the world becoming materialistic.

  • disqus_lcgocZ8O6h

    “the church” needs to go OUT and BE “the church”.

    Less fancy buildings and choirs and expensive so called “mission trips” to go gallivanting across the country and world singing and being tourists and acting like we are doing all this stuff for these people overseas while neglecting those in our own back yards.

    More going out and BEING like Christ, IN the world every day. That is where we meet God. That is how we worship him and show him our faith and love. That is “church”.

    I am quite frankly tired of churches and would love to be able to see more faith in action and worship happening everyday.