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Church growth in America (my way)

Posted in Bible, Catholic Church, christians, gospel, liberals, multiculturalism, political correctness, theology, toleration, Truth with tags , , on July 11, 2011 by devilbloggger

Shrinking.

Have you ever heard of a Church Shrink Expert?  A Church Shrink Consultant?  How about a Church De-membership Drive, or a Church Negative Growth Committee?

No?

I don’t know why not.  After all, Church Shrink Experts and Church Shrink Consultants are ubiquitous in the modern church.  In fact, they control most of the governing bodies of the mainline denominations, leading them step by step to empty pews and cultural irrelevancy.

It took years for me to groom the numbers on earth today, but Church Shrink Experts now control most established protestant denominations, and many Catholic and Orthodox churches.

And they are very effective. 

Does anyone care?  Consider Churchboy:  If your local congregation disappeared today, would anyone in your community care tomorrow?  Would anyone in your community even notice?

Ha ha ha ha ha.

Answer honestly Churchboy.  The fact of the matter is that most churches on earth today exist primarily for those inside and hardly at all for those outside. 

And the numbers of those inside are shrinking. 

Coincidence?

My servants, I’ve watched the steady decline in numbers of mainline churches with great pride.  I am Church Shrinking Expert One, and I must pat myself on the back for my great success in this area. 

And, at the risk of reversing my trend I thought I would share three tips for Church Shrinking with you.  What spurred my thinking on this was a news story today in The New American entitled, “United Church of Christ Votes to Remove “Heavenly Father” from Bylaws.” 

Ha ha ha ha ha.

I love it!  Remove Heavenly Father from their earthly, human, manmade bylaws?  

The New American reports:

Explaining the change, which reflects a trend toward gender-neutralizing (and in some cases feminizing) God that has been in vogue throughout the denomination for years, UCC spokesperson Barb Powell told World Net Daily:

In the UCC, our language for God, Christ and the Holy Spirit … is preferred to be more open for different expressions of the Trinity. Heavenly Father is just one vision.

Well, yes, “Heavenly Father” is just one vision.  Never mind that it is God’s vision.  I suppose when one decides to make God politically correct anything is possible.  If scripture is to be ignored another equally valid vision is that God is a unicorn.  Even better, a bi-sexual unicorn with two mommies.

Why not?

No, really, why not??

But what I like best is the quote from David Runnion-Bareford of Biblical Witness Fellowship (BWF), a group formed to battle “UCC’s theological surrender to the moral and spiritual confusion of contemporary culture.”

He called the latest compromise by the church, which is one of the most rapidly shrinking Protestant denominations in America, “a powerful confession by the Synod of the UCC that, having rebelled against the word of God, is on sinking sand — with our members, churches, historic witness, and identity in Christ washing away before our eyes.”

Sorry Dave, you are losing this battle.  And the great swooshing sound of church members washing away before your eyes illustrates my first, and most important Church Shrinking tip: 

Tip 1: Be Relevant; mold scripture to modern culture.

Get it?  It is the Gospel of Modern Niceness.   Modern political correctness demands tolerant niceness to all.  We all learn that it’s nice to be nice to the nice, and the only one’s who aren’t nice are those meanies who believe the Bible to be God the Father’s (sorry, UCC) word on earth.

Does gender specific language offend?  Then just change it!  Be relevant to those to whom (and to those two, whom) such language is a barrier to communion with whatever God you believe you worship. 

But the Niceness doesn’t end at gender nonsense, of course.  Niceness leads to denominational endorsement of same-sex marriage, ordination of homosexual ministers, and implicit condoning all manner of sexual impropriety that now imposes as the contemporary norm.  Consider an elaboration of this tip from John Richardson, who has studied Shrinkology in modern churches:

Contemporary relevance is a fundamental tool in denominational shrinkage. Not only does it deter people from going to your churches, it actually camouflages the fact that they are not.

And, as Richardson states, here is the great lie that goes unnoticed until all the pews are empty:

But of course nobody will commit themselves to a church which is preaching what they (the non-churchgoer) already practise. Sundays are for resting, in bed or with family and friends, not sitting in uncomfortable buildings … watching badly performed rituals and listening to the blessed thoughts of the half-unbelieving and half-trained, though well-intentioned, minister.

I couldn’t have said it any better.  And it just amazes me how many Christian denominations, in an effort to grow abandon the very reason for church in the first place: scripturally sound doctrine that drives a self-controlled disciplined lifestyle, set apart from the world, being transformed by the renewing of the mind to God’s thoughts to be more like Jesus daily.

Blechhhh!  I can’t believe I even wrote that.

Tip 2:  Drop Your Demands

Related to being relevant in modern culture, dropping troublesome demands on a sinful lifestyle and stressing holiness is a sure-fire church shrinker.  As Richardson notes:

[M]aintaining the demands of orthodox belief generally doesn’t sit well with denominational shrinkage. A broad church is, by and large, a leaky church. If you want to lose the average person from your church then, paradoxically, you must declare as ‘faith’ what the average person already finds it easy and comfortable to believe. Never mention the afterlife except in terms of cosy reassurance about the love of God. Specifically, never mention hell – except when assuring people that a loving God could not possibly send anyone to such an awful place invented by vindictive humans etc. (It may be necessary to keep off the Bible in general or Jesus’ own words in particular at this point.)

Yes, make your church one of Easy Believism.  Do not require repentance, a holy lifestyle, adherence to scripture in matters of morals and behavior, or any of the other things that Jesus tends to like.  And never, never, mention H-E-L-L.

Tip 3:  Never mention or stress mission.

Jesus gave a Great Commission that scared the socks off me when I first heard it.  Go into all the world . . . making disciples . . . of all nations.  Each phrase chilled my already cold soul as I realized what would happen to my kingdom once the Great Commissioners got moving. 

Fortunately in the modern church today, particularly in Western cultures, there is virtually no Great Commissioning going on.  Most Christians go through their entire lives without making one disciple!

I know, my servants, I know.  It’s unbelievable!

But it’s true.  Churches with members that don’t reach out to friends, neighbors, co-workers, and their surrounding community with Good Deeds and Good News will only shrink away to oblivion.  It is inevitable; it is happening now.  As Richardson concludes, quoting a book The Churching of America 1776–1990 by Roger Finke and Rodney Stark:

[T]o the degree that denominations rejected traditional doctrines and ceased to make serious demands on their followers, they ceased to prosper. The churching of America was accomplished by aggressive churches committed to vivid otherworldliness.

Yes, that’s true to an extent.  But the fact is that all churches are committed to “otherworldliness.”  But because the “otherworldliness” is not “vivid” a shrinking number are aggressively committed to God’s “other world” while a growing number are aggressively committed to my “other world.”

Lack of vividity fuels church growth my way.

Viva nonvividity!

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The Body of Christ on Earth

Posted in Catholic Church, christians, Truth, Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 15, 2011 by devilbloggger

Quote of the Day: But overall I love the mere confessors, because virtually all of them are lukewarm, just the way I like it.
Gays Kissin’ and Dissin’ (What’s Missin’?), November 7, 2010

Body.

Do you know, my servants, what we in Hell feared the most when Jesus Christ walked the earth?  Do you know what singular thing threatened our kingdom the greatest when Jesus Christ himself was on earth in bodily form?  You don’t?  I’ll tell you.

His body.

That’s right, my servants.  Wherever the body of Christ went, my kingdom fell helpless and impotent before it.  Wherever his feet went healing followed.  Wherever his hands went, good deeds followed.  And wherever his mouth went, the Good News followed. 

Restoration, redemption, healing.  Blechhh!

It’s enough to make a poor devil sick.

So we knew then, my friends, that to survive we must kill that body!  We must stop that body from moving about, from reaching out, from speaking out.

And we did.

We thought. 

Oh, the shrieks of victory that flew back and forth that day!  His body is dead!  We have stopped the body!

You can imagine our disappointment a few days later when we saw that same body up and around, once again doing good, speaking good news, and assaulting my kingdom.  Fortunately that destructive episode was short-lived, and once again we watched as Jesus’ body left the earth.

Sigh.

Jesus finally gone.

We thought.

Little did I know the mind of God, or his designs for continued restoration, redemption, and healing on Earth.  Blechhh!

Little did I know that he would leave behind his body, the Church, his visible presence on Earth.

I read horrified as Paul penned the mystery:

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

And just to make it clear, even to me, Paul wrote to Godpunks in Corinth:

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

If we had only known! We may have spared Jesus the son of man.

Every believer now a part of an extended, non-location-limited body, of which Christ is the head!  Now there are many feet, many hands, and many mouths.  The Earth would soon be filled, covered, encompassed with his body. 

Where once the body of Christ was in one place at one time, now the body of Christ could operate in many places at any time.

So we knew again, my servants, that to survive we must again kill that body!  We must stop that body from moving about, from reaching out, from speaking out.

But how?  Though we tried, we could not arrange for every believer to be martyred!

My only option was to fracture the body.  Cause division so that the eye can say to the hand “I don’t need you!” And the head can say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”  And if one part suffers, other parts do not suffer with it.  And if one part is honored, the other parts do not.

Division.

I’ve been pretty successful, eh?

Unlike Christ himself, walking undivided among a hurting and lost people whom he loved in action, today’s Body of Christ walks largely divided, hurting and lost among a people whom few love, and with almost no action.

Many words with few deeds; many deeds with little love.  I have divided the body of Christ on Earth to the point where its members are largely occupied with mere self preservation, self affirmation, and self entertainment.

But don’t worry, my friends.  I have learned to not rest.  The body lives, kept alive by a Spirit I cannot stop and by a Word I cannot destroy.

I’ve learned it’s not the flashy, the wealthy, the mega-this, or mega-that, the wired, the online, the multi-media, the connected, the hip, the loud who are the most effective members of the body of Christ.

They are easy to keep self-absorbed.

No, it is the quiet, the meek, the forgotten of this world, the feeble, the weak, those who pray quietly and act diligently, behind the scenes, with no fanfare, and with no expectation of recognition on Earth.

It’s the widow, the shut-in, the poor of this world, the hurting helping the hurting, the hungry feeding the hungry.  The outcast giving a glass of water to a stranger.  The worldly unwise, the temporally treasureless, the obedient, the self-controlled, and the peacemakers, the gentle, the patient, the kind, the good–in short, those who have crucified their sinful selfish nature with its passions and desires–these are the effective body of Christ on Earth today.

These are hard to detect, hard to stop, and hard to discourage as they quietly go about destroying my kingdom one mouth, one mind, one heart at a time.

Fortunately these are few.

Whew!

It’s Sunday morning somewhere

Posted in Devil, prayer, Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 10, 2010 by devilbloggger

NOTE:  Voter Issue Guide Part 3 coming up next week, AND a complete voter issue guide on October 31.

It’s Sunday morning in China.  Still early, but things are already heating up.

I can tell; things really start hopping around here on Sundays, and it starts with a mess of praying and crying out to God in China.  Like fingernails on a chalkboard, yikes!  

I can’t figure it out; I don’t see any church buildings, I see very few Bibles, I don’t see any large gatherings of well-dressed people driving nice cars like I’m used to seeing in Western churches.  And on top of all that, I enforce some pretty heavy-handed persecution in China.  I’ve separated families, brought government sanctions, I’ve put fathers in prison, and more than once I even had people killed! 

But the prayer volume!  The resounding cacophony in my ears of earnest prayers!  Where can it be coming from?  And why?

Over the last 40 years or so I’ve re-assigned some of my best assets into China.  Most of these demons transferred from duty in Europe where their talent was no longer needed.  Other than Discouragement and Despair, my best teams were spending most of their time in low-value activities, like harassing random Youth for Christ kids.   

But in China?  Even with the added heat of some high-powered tribulators on duty, and using our most diabolical methods, we still find we have to scramble like mad men to stop all the prayer traffic out of China. 

And the strange thing is that most of the prayers are prayers of thanksgiving.  For what?  For WHAT?  I don’t get it.  In America people have every luxury they could want, and all I hear out of them are prayers for more.  We let those go.  But prayers of thanksgiving are particularly grating on our ears, and we do all we can to stamp them out.

Oh, there they are now!  Are my ears bleeding?

Once Sunday morning gets to Europe we all take a little breather.  As I mentioned, there’s usually little activity of note there, although we typically dispatch a few swat teams into Africa.  And then there’s the time over the Atlantic ocean before Sunday morning arrives in the United States where things pick up a bit.  Although we rarely have any substantive battles in the US–just a little distracting annoyances here and there will neutralize most of my enemies there–we still gear up for the occasional struggle in the heavens.  It seems like despite our best efforts at swamping church-goers with the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth, there are still some pretty feisty prayer pockets scattered about in that land.  

And, I must admit, although it is still largely isolated and ineffective, the prayer activity in the United States seems to have grown in the last year or two.  What’s going on in the US?  Will someone tell me?  Help me out here, servants of mine.

Once the sun goes back over the Pacific most of us get a little respite until the next week.  Many of mine come back battered and beaten.  A few brag about their exploits, but most drag back with an air of defeat.  It’s all I can do to threate. . ., I mean pump them up, to get them to go back into the battle. 

So I will be out of pocket until Monday morning.  Work to do.

Discouragement! to China! Go now (yes NOW, you little runts)!  Despair! prepare for Europe! Laziness and Complacency! stay vigilant in the United States! Come on, at least sit up straight!

Whew, boy.

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