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  #1  
Old 05-27-2018, 10:25 PM
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Default Encouraging new membership?

I am on the board as an elder at our church. We are a small Lutheran Church that has watched our attendance drop over the years. Usually do to our members passing away. We are also in a very small community of less than 7000. Our Church is about to celebrate our 25th anniversary next month. Does any one have any ideas for bring new members into the house of God? It seems no one wants to hear the message. When asked what I like about our church I say it's simple; It is salvation through faith and not by works. I tell them we like to hear the gospel as well as the law. It seems to me no one wants to hear the law.

We are doing community out reach via local paper, community events, and volunteer activities. Yet we haven't had a new member in a little over a year. As Lutherans we try our best to encourage people to turn to the Lord.
I'm looking for fresh ideas. So does anyone have any they would like to share? Thank you all in advance.
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Old 05-28-2018, 8:09 AM
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I'm in the same boat. It will be especially hard in your small community. It seems that there aren't any people converting. So, the successful churches are merely pulling congregants from other churches and those churches go belly up. In your small area there may not be other churches to pull from. I read Barna a lot and he seems to concur with this problem.
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Old 05-28-2018, 8:38 AM
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I wish I knew. We recently began a weekly radio program that has generated some interest, but we're definitely not growing. Community outreach, a strong youth and senior program, dedicated people who serve... its tough in this day and age.

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Old 05-28-2018, 8:25 PM
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Most of the time no one wants to hear this, but call for prayer teams to gather and pray for direction, and not just 5 or 10 minutes. Asking The Lord for direction usually brings inspiration for action. But I am from the Full Gospel neck of the woods and lively praise and worship ministry helps also.
Not trying to tell anyone what to do.

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Old 05-29-2018, 3:13 PM
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Have you tried making a simple website of your church? I'm sure Lutherans, Protestants and etc...have a global website, but try making one that is simple and calls to those that are suffering. If you have a Youth Division, have them propagate the website to their friends. You know how the internet can be, very catchy
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Old 05-31-2018, 6:21 AM
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Speaking as a Catholic, I understand that most Christian denominations believe in Sola Fide, or sola scriptura, but
Doing more or bigger organized good works, charity, missionary, simple feeding the poor in your area, doing drives for the needy, outreach to prisoners, praying at abortion clinics, etc can help with visibility and attract people to come to your church and God in several ways.

1. Through your actions, You are teaching by example that we are to follow Christ by doing what He asked us to do which is to Love thy neighbor, and take up our cross.

2. You will inspire young people that good begets good and attract young people who are itching to do something good for their fellow man.

3. Young people will come to know Christ by thei very own action and strengthen their Faith.

4. Young people will have meaningful worship through their active care for other children of God and will know that all they did for the least of their brethren they did for Christ...Young people are keen on people who say what they believe but do not back it up with their actions and this is a way for them to find meaning in doing God’s work.

5. You will win souls for Christ. Those whom you help will ask what is it that you believe that you will help somebody without asking for anything in return, and possibly by the grace of God become a believer in. Heist.

(Let me qualify this since many other denominations still think that Catholics believe we achieve salvation through doing works...which is not true.
We believe that Faith bears the fruit of doing God’s work.
We do not achieve Heaven through work or the amount of Faith, since some faithful can do grave sin and still be unrepentant by their own will.

It is through Jesus’ Sacrifice and God’s Grace that we are saved, it is His Choice and it is for most - because of Free will we can still reject God’s Grace and Love, and continue to sin and refuse to repent via the sin of pride, and thus walk into hell, which was reserved for the devil, with our own two feet, there are some people who do this knowingly- like devil worshippers, murderers, hardened sinners, people with destroyed consciences, but only God knows for sure if He’ll give them another chance even at the brink of Death...we know this due to many people’s deaths experiences Christian and even people who were formerly non believers,including Buddhists, and muslims who had seen heaven, or even hell , but always encountered Christ)

Last edited by Burble74; 05-31-2018 at 6:28 AM..
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Old 05-31-2018, 6:30 AM
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summer community BBQ social with jumpy house and games for kids (it's not Bible down their throat and threats of going to hell). Once you can get the kids playing, the parents usually are more receptive and open to talk.
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Old 05-31-2018, 6:57 AM
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Some times, (not saying it's so in you church) a change in pastor is in order.

Know one wants to talk about it, but sometimes it's the right thing to do.

The right pastor can change things in a big way IMHO

Good youth groups are a great way also

I'll say this, message delivery is key to keeping an receiving new members.

Don't flame, just sayin
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Old 05-31-2018, 6:59 AM
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Originally Posted by dk94044 View Post
summer community BBQ social with jumpy house and games for kids (it's not Bible down their throat and threats of going to hell). Once you can get the kids playing, the parents usually are more receptive and open to talk.
That’s a great idea especially for families and couples with young children!

Our parish when I was growing up would have a carnival with rides and funhoueses and games every fall and it would attract a lots of local neighbors
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Old 05-31-2018, 7:19 AM
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Welcome to the times. All churches small and large are seeing a reduction membership as the elderly pass away. The only growth churches are motivation churches. I say motivation, because they are run by motivational speakers more than teachers. Teach the word. Teach apologetics, (helps the youth in an age when atheism owns academia). Teach prophecy, fulfilled and unfulfilled. Stay true to the word. The bible says in those days there will be a great falling away. It's quality not quantity. If the teaching is true they will come.
Even the difficult teachings, the sermon where you go home and look in the mirror, must be taught. Maybe even toss off the label. We're not Lutheran Catholic, Baptist etc. We are Christian. Your not a Lutheran preacher, your a Sheppard, protecting and teaching the flock. Just stick with the word, they will come. The is hope in the truth, and that's something this world needs more than ever.

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Old 05-31-2018, 8:03 AM
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I understand what you mean as far as getting new folks in. Been running a mens ministry for a couple of years. I struggle getting new people in. I have sought help, possible change in the program and gotten the same response that everyone is happy. It is tough getting folks interested. Unfortunately for me I am one of the youngest there at 45.

As the post above states as you preach and teach the word and stay true to the text then the labels fall away quickly.
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Old 05-31-2018, 1:39 PM
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Now were getting somewhere, the posts above are all excellent ideas. I especially like the fair in the fall for the kids. You have the parents bring the kids and voila, you have a contact.

In my faith, we assign a person to be the "go to" person for questions and practice. I think AA does that sort of thing.
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Sip your Victory Gin folks, time's are a changin'

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Old 05-31-2018, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by OHOD View Post
Now were getting somewhere, the posts above are all excellent ideas. I especially like the fair in the fall for the kids. You have the parents bring the kids and voila, you have a contact.

In my faith, we assign a person to be the "go to" person for questions and practice. I think AA does that sort of thing.
In each of our parishes they have what’s called the RCIA rite of Christian initiation for adults, if they are new to Christianity or the universal church so it’s basically a class where people can have their questions answered about the faith, God everything, and it is up to them if they want to go through with , if they weren’t already baptized as a Christian, baptism and then the other sacraments...

Usually there is a group of people who do this, sometimes they are Nuns or priests with the help of laypersons. And then the full initiation is during th Easter season, when all the new folk are welcomed into the Church. It’s really a beautiful thing to witness more people turning to Christ — personally, I’m just happy to see people coming to the Faith, whether it’s the Catholic or orthodox Church or other denomination, since the number of Christians en masses in the United States are at an all time low....whereas in Africa I believe it’s at its highest rate.
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Old 06-01-2018, 7:46 AM
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Start a podcast?
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Old 06-02-2018, 10:58 PM
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Thanks for all the great replies. We do have a web site but it could definitely use some up dating. We are having our 25th anniversary next Sunday. We have invited the entire community for a bbq brunch via the local paper. We also invited all of the other churches in our synod. I will be smoking 100lbs of pork for the event and am looking forward to it. Web or podcasts is something we honestly would not know how to do. Our pastor does write a article for our local paper each week and in my opinion he does a amazing job. Also we are running a booth at our local 4th of July event with balloon popping and prizes for the kids. We have done this for many years and the community loves it but still no one has been interested in attending a service. We will continue to pray and be active in our community. Thank you all once again.
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Old 06-02-2018, 11:30 PM
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Mainstream churches seem to be dying. What seems to be growing are the big born again non demoninational churches. Same message but different way of putting it across. Try having some of your members available after school to offer tutoring to the school kids. Maybe reading and english help if you have a lot of immigrant population nearby. Don't use this for any witness but only as a public service. Let them know they are welcome to come to church if they'd like to.
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Old 06-03-2018, 4:28 PM
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Old 06-18-2018, 1:58 PM
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Originally Posted by cactus View Post
So does anyone have any they would like to share? Thank you all in advance.

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Did you notice that "the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables"?

Want a HUGE congregation? Simple: give them meaning pablum. Don't preach the gospel. Don't mention sin; don't mention salvation; don't mention judgment; don't mention hell; don't tell people they need to be saved; don't preach the good news of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ; don't teach about discipleship; don't teach about "counting the cost"; don't teach about losing our life for His sake. Teach about "feelings" and "how to get the most of your life". Add some programs. Make people feel good about themselves. Number will be huge. HOWEVER, the kingdom of God will not be enlarged; souls won't be saved.

Ultimately, it is God who builds His church. How did it work in the early church?

And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who [m]gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.

So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:40-47

Remember Who did what: "And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved."
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Old 06-20-2018, 9:07 PM
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I always look to the "attraction rather than promotion" doctrine.
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Old 06-21-2018, 5:33 AM
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My LCMS congregation is in an area of the city where many baby boomers and MOST Gen X'ers moved away, after the steel industry collapse of the '70's. I'm guessing you at least have younger members in your church, which is a good start.


Churches used to be the center of social life in the community, before TV, computers, interwebz, cellphones, etc. Most of our congregations in Pittsburgh had fashion shows annually, and they were a huge hit with the women. Our church inherited a green house with some adjacent property in the early '60's - the men actually enjoyed working that, growing flowers for the altar arrangements, even, for many decades!


Church can - and should be again - the center of congregational life. We've done things like (board!) Games Night, Dinner, Movie & a Bible Study nites, different-themed covered dish luncheons; we started a monthly Men's Breakfast about 10 years ago, that meets the first Saturday of each month at different locations for breakfast. We have a hayride at a local Lutheran farm (!) every fall, a bowling nite for youth... and OLDER 'yutes,' and other activities as we come up with them. Active MEN is the secret to an active congregation. Be sure to check LHM Men's Network for more ideas that might work in your setting.



One of the things that REALLY sucks is, the Walther League got canned in '77, following the 'late unpleasantness' of the '60's and '70's (look up the history of the '69 Walther League Convention to discover the beginning of the end), and yet we came up with NOTHING to replace it. Now we're left to reinvent the wheel in each congregation, but if we actually network Pastors and congregations, I think we could do a LOT of joint projects, outings, and gatherings together, and build the sense of camaraderie we lost, with the demise of the Walther League.


Service projects are fine too, but the fellowship aspect is more crucial. And NEITHER can become a substitute for Word & Sacrament! Avoid the trendy & contemporary flavor-of-the-month worship (the sermon is the "contemporary" part of the Divine Service. If your Pastor writes a NEW sermon each week, THERE'S your "contemporary" part of the worship!), and hold your Pastor to good Law/Gospel sermons that explicate the Word, and the Holy Spirit will do the hard part.


He always has.





p.s. - consider an intergenerational Sunday School as well. The old folks THINK they can't learn anything from kids. It's always fun to watch their reaction, when they DO...
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Old 06-29-2018, 9:15 PM
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Well the family and I picked up a booth our members built years ago for events. Our church hasn't used it in years. For the past week my family and I have been restoring it to its former glory. We are happy that we will be representing our church at our local 4th of July get together. We will be doing a baloon / dart popping both. We will be handing out prizes, lollipops, water, fans, and the word of God. The whole family is extremely excited!
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Old 06-30-2018, 5:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Not a Cook View Post
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Did you notice that "the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables"?

Want a HUGE congregation? Simple: give them meaning pablum. Don't preach the gospel. Don't mention sin; don't mention salvation; don't mention judgment; don't mention hell; don't tell people they need to be saved; don't preach the good news of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ; don't teach about discipleship; don't teach about "counting the cost"; don't teach about losing our life for His sake. Teach about "feelings" and "how to get the most of your life". Add some programs. Make people feel good about themselves. Number will be huge. HOWEVER, the kingdom of God will not be enlarged; souls won't be saved.

Ultimately, it is God who builds His church. How did it work in the early church?

And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who [m]gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.

So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:40-47

Remember Who did what: "And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved."
Amen, Amen, Amen.
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Old 06-30-2018, 8:26 AM
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Discipleship

who is discipiling a Timothy like Paul did?
The western church has pretty much left the work of the church up to the Pastors and Lay people, and most just attend on Sundays and special events.
How is not being a participating member of 'the church' helping us spread the gospel?
Now more than ever the youth need responsible adults training them in the way they should go.
How many of you church goers are mentoring someone or discipliing someone?
How many of you church goers are being mentored or discipled?
How many of you church goers are involved and serving your community?

Our church just did a music and arts camp for kids. 80% of the kids that were there did not attend our church, and about 50% of those kids were the unchurched.
We had an attendance of 50-70 kids, I did not take a count.
I am busy and sometimes don't have time or don't want to serve.
There was a need that I could fill so I served. I taught percussion and prepared (4) of the 20 students I had to play a song on stage using various percussion instruments.
The message during the week was all about creativity and how we are 'created' unique by a loving God.
Lastnight was the show. the Parents, churched and unchurched were extremely thankful to have their kids there, and many came up to me personally to thank me, because their children raved about me. Its these opportunities we need to take to point to God
How are you serving your community?
How are you serving your church?
Are you making disciples of men?
Are you being the hands and feet of Jesus?

The western church will continue to die if we don't put our focus on our local church and communities.
Want to see change? Be the change


ETA; what is your churches vision
Do they have a one year plan that the people have gathered around?
What about the Five year plan that your Church is rallying around?
What vision has your Church for 10 years from now?
In 25 years what is your churches vision for your local body, and how did your leaders rally the congregation to serve and reach that 25 year vision?
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M. Sage's I have a dream speech;

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I dream about the day that the average would-be rapist is afraid to approach a woman who's walking alone at night. I dream of the day when two punks talk each other out of sticking up a liquor store because it's too damn risky.

Last edited by colossians323; 06-30-2018 at 8:34 AM..
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Old 06-30-2018, 8:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Garand Hunter View Post
Most of the time no one wants to hear this, but call for prayer teams to gather and pray for direction, and not just 5 or 10 minutes. Asking The Lord for direction usually brings inspiration for action. But I am from the Full Gospel neck of the woods and lively praise and worship ministry helps also.
Not trying to tell anyone what to do.

Psalm 1
Troof!
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M. Sage's I have a dream speech;

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I dream about the day that the average would-be rapist is afraid to approach a woman who's walking alone at night. I dream of the day when two punks talk each other out of sticking up a liquor store because it's too damn risky.
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