Francois Fenelon was the court preacher for King Louis XIV of France in the 17th
century. One Sunday when the king and his attendants arrived at the chapel for the regular
service, no one else was there but the preacher. King Louis demanded, "What does this
mean?" Fenelon replied, "I had published that you would not come to church
today, in order that your Majesty might see who serves God in truth and who flatters the
I often visit newcomers in town and find them to be church shopping. They want to know
what they can get out of church. Churches are one more consumer commodity. Worship
services are not a place for us to serve God and neighbor but a place where people expect
to purchase the best: Inspiring worship, good music, moving sermons, quality child care.
As if we buy God and not vice versa.
Arthur Boers in The Other Side, May/June, 1989.
Statistics and Stuff
48% of church-goers attend an average of once a month.
U.S.A. Today, May 25, 1994.
In a door-to-door survey conducted by Willow Creek Community Church the question was
asked: if you don't go to church, why? The five biggest reasons: 1) Boring, 2) Irrelevant,
3) Asking for money all the time, 4) I'm too busy already, 5) I feel awkward at church.
Willow Creek Community Church.
For every person raised without religion who adopts a church, three persons forsake the
churches for no institutional affiliation.
Wade Clark Roof and William McKinney in
American Mainline Religion, quoted in Signs of the Times, January, 1992.
Football in the fall. Basketball in the winter. Baseball in the spring and summer. This
pastor has been an avid sports fan all his life. But I've had it! I quit this sports
business once and for all. You can't get me near one of those places again. Want to know
Every time I went, they asked me for money.
The people with whom I had to sit didn't seem very friendly.
The seats were too hard and not at all comfortable.
I went to many games, but the coach never came to call on me.
The referee made a decision with which I could not agree.
I suspected that I was sitting with some hypocrites -- they came
to see their friends and what others were wearing rather than to see the game.
Some games went into overtime, and I was late getting home.
The band played some numbers that I had never heard before.
It seems that the games are scheduled when I want to do other things.
I was taken to too many games by my parents when I was growing up.
I don't want to take my children to any games, because I want
them to choose for themselves what sport they like best.
Author Unknown, At Calvary, Covington, KY.
What do baby boomers expect to see in a church? Answer: High-quality preaching, good
music and social groups, says Lyle E. Schaller, an Illinois religious consultant. Baby
boomers also expect big meeting rooms, a quality kitchen, child care, ample parking and
clean rest rooms.
Focus on the Family, July, 1989, p. 11.
Percentage of mothers who said they wanted their children to develop a loyalty to
church in 1924: 50. In 1978: 22.
Psychology Today, October 1988.
If You Want to Kill the Church
Never go to your church or meetings held there,
If you do go, be late, it's no one's affair.
If the weather is bad, either too hot or snowing,
Just stay home and rest, for there'll be others going.
But should you attend, be sure and remember
To find fault with the work, each official and member.
Be sure to hold back on your offerings and tithes,
The bills will be paid by the rest of the guys.
And never take office if offered the post,
But eagerly criticize work of the host.
If not on a committee you're placed, be sore!
If you find that you are, don't attend any more.
When asked your opinion on this thing or that,
Have nothing to say, just turn 'em down flat.
Then after the meeting, shine out like the sun
By telling the folks how it should have been done.
Don't do any more than you possibly can,
Leave the work for some other woman or man.
And when you see faithful ones work themselves sick,
Then stand up and holler, "It's run by a clique!"
This story deals with a rather old fashioned lady, who was planning a couple of weeks
vacation in Florida. She also was quite delicate and elegant with her language. She wrote
a letter to a particular campground and asked for reservations. She wanted to make sure
the campground was fully equipped but didn't know quite how to ask about the
"toilet" facilities. She just couldn't bring herself to write the word
"toilet" in her letter. After much deliberation, she finally came up with the old
fashioned term "Bathroom Commode," but when she wrote that down, she still
thought she was being too forward. So she started all over again; rewrote the entire
letter and referred to the Bathroom Commode" simply as the "B.C.". Does the
campground have its own "B.C.?" is what she actually wrote.
Well, the campground owner wasn't old fashioned at all, and when he got the letter, he
couldn't figure out what the lady was talking about. That "B.C." really stumped
him. After worrying about it for several days, he showed the letter to other campers, but
they couldn't figure out what the lady meant either. The campground owner finally came to
the conclusion that the lady was and must be asking about the location of the local
Baptist Church. So he sat down and wrote the following reply: "Dear Madam: I regret
very much the delay in answering your letter, but I now take pleasure of informing you
that the "B.C." is located nine miles north of the camp site and is capable of
seating 250 people at one time. I admit it is quite a distance away if you are in the
habit of going regularly but no doubt you will be pleased to know that a great number of
people take their lunches along, and make a day of it..... They usually arrive early and
stay late. The last time my wife and I went was six years ago, and it was so crowded we
had to stand up the whole time we were there. It may interest you to know that right now,
there is a supper planned to raise money to buy more seats.....They plan to hold the
supper in the middle of the B.C., so everyone can watch and talk about this great
event.....I would like to say it pains me very much, not to be able to go more regularly,
but it is surely not for lack of desire on my part....As we grow older, it seems to be
more and more of an effort, particularly in cold weather..... If you decide to come down
to the campground, perhaps I could go with you the first time you go...sit with you...and
introduce you to all the other folks..... This is really a very friendly community.....