Thursday, February 12, 2009

Discouraged and Depressed

As the Evangelism Elder for Stodgy Presbyterian, I have the mandate to reach out to the community and invite them to learn about Christ. I also have the responsibility to help renew the congregation.

In previous posts I've related that I've offered the Alpha Course to the public at large as well as the congregation. This Lenten season, I'm sponsoring a Lenten study, Jesus' Greatest Moments, the week that changed everything, using the Small Group text written by Mark Ashton.

Its been advertised in the church's February bulletin, the Sunday announcements, on our website. As of today, I have two sign-ups, out of a congregation of (on the books at least) 275. For the Alpha Course, I also had two signups, but wound up with three at the opening session.

Talk about discouraging!!

I'm getting ready to create newspaper ads for our Easter service, I'm looking at two different ads for two different papers. One, which is distributed free to everyone in the area, I'm thinking of pushing the Alpha Course, with a mention of our Easter service. In the other paper, which is one that charges a nominal sum for pickup at a 7-11 or through mail subscription, I'm thinking of pushing the Easter services, with a mention of the Alpha Course.

As you can tell, I'm trying to target the local population in ways that will catch their attention. I just wish I could reinvigorate the congregation to think about renewing their belief!!

I'm happy to say that our Pastor is trying to help, he preached a great evangelism sermon last Sunday, I just hope people were listening. This coming week, I'm going to be the Liturgist for our Worship service. The guest preacher will be using the Old Testament to preach on, so the first reading will be from the New Testament. The reading will be from Revelation 3:14-22, the verses that talk about the church of Laodicea that is neither cold nor hot.

Talk about the perfect reading for SPC !! That I'm the one reading it makes it even better (IMHO). I pray that the congregation will be open to the words of Revelation. I'm not sure if I should emphasize the text by opening with something like:

Let us pray. Lord open our minds to the Spirit that we may understand the meaning of your Holy Scripture.

Too preachy, or pointed? I'm not sure if they'll even notice.

And so it goes ....


  1. A thought and a warning:
    Thought-- why do you want to attract new people to come into an environment that they will not find friendly, open, or welcoming? If they come following your ads, and they leave with a bad impression, your advertising will have created a word-of-mouth counteradvertising that has more street-cred with anyone those turned off may talk to. Clean the house up before inviting guests.

    Warning: anger is not in any way a means toward the end you seek. If the people think you're angry at them, they will not know you love them. Hosea did not trash Gomer; God had to thrash the anger out of Jonah to make him usable. Love them as Christ loves them-- even if you are frustrated.

    Why are you expecting faithfulness to yield successful results? Can God not ask you to speak and speak, but they will not listen, as He did with Isaiah? Do what you do because God tells you to, and leave the results to Him; and those are not idle words idly shared. I'm right there with you, brother.

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  3. I've probably mentioned this on your blog before, but one of my most discouraging moments here was when we did a survey to see what kind of Adult Ed offerings people were interested in, and most of the responses were to the effect of "I don't feel the need to attend Bible study" and "I don't have time."

    This is just to say, that I'm right there with you too.

  4. I'm sorry, RC. I've been there, too.

    Clay does have a point about being wary of inviting new folks to the church at this time. Perhaps when you advertise the Alpha course you can meet somewhere other than the church and not on a Sunday in order to encourage non-members to attend.

    Alpha itself didn't begin in a church but as a small group meeting in a home over dinner.

  5. Clay,

    I do hear what you are saying. The frustration I have is due to my caring for the future of this congregation.


    Yep, on the front page of SPC's website we have a similar poll, two people have answered.


    we usually have Alpha on a Wednesday night at 6pm, trying to get people directly from work. The church is on a commuter route, so it would be on the way.


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