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Was your congregation successful at gaining new converts? I mean, that's what Christianity is supposed to be all about, bringing people into the supposed salvation of Christ, right? So that should have been the priority.

 

Thinking back, I would have to say no. My evangelical church was mostly made up of people who either had grown up in the church and simply accepted (non-dramatically) what had always been taught, or Christians who left other churches for whatever reason and joined ours. I only remember a few who were considered "unbelievers" who had "got saved" as the result of preaching or our church's influence. And they were mostly teens, who later drifted off in their own direction again. We always had the required sermons on salvation and altar calls every Sunday, but this didn't seem to rake in the sinners-soon-to-be-saints. The missions budget was one of the smallest in the church, which seems strange considering that the main goal of the church is to spread the "good news". The fundamentalist church of my childhood was the same way; fire and brimstone sermons, pleas to get right with God, warnings of eternal hell fire, etc, before the altar call, but few (if any) unbelievers came foreward except for the obsessive/compulsive types, who knelt at the front of the church nearly every Sunday for fear they had commited some terrible sin (this was partly because my denomination did not teach eternal salvation--you could lose it if you strayed, and had to get saved all over again). Some Sundays, nobody came forward, and the pastor would have us sing the final hymn (always a slow, depressing song with 3 to 4 verses to begin with) over and over just in case the spirit would move someone forward.

 

So what about your former congregations? Did you have lots of newly saved people coming in, or was it mostly those in the traditional families of the church, or people transfering from other congregations?

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Was your congregation successful at gaining new converts? I mean, that's what Christianity is supposed to be all about, bringing people into the supposed salvation of Christ, right? So that should have been the priority.

 

Did my former congretation ever try? Not for all I know...

 

...damn lukewarm Germany :pureevil:

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They recruited a lot of new-converts as a result of the christmas production.

 

Very few stayed, though. It seemed as if most people changed their minds once the emotional high was over.

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Our churches (as a military brat I went to many) had a brilliant tactic that got many converts. When it was time for altar call the preacher would tell everyone to hold hands. Everyone did and then the music would start. Then he asked a very loaded question. He asked if anyone here is NOT saved please sqeeze the persons hand beside you. Now this was said in different ways but notice he didn't say "If you WANT to be saved squeeze the persons hand." Then the preacher said if anyone had there hands squeezed raise it up and bring them to the front. I can image the feelings going through newcomers heads as they walked up to the front unprepared for what was happening to them. To make things short usually 4 or 5 walked up every sunday. When I went to mega-churches who used the same tactic 20 to 25 people got converted. To make things even more awkard sometimes the paster would tell the congregation to ask the neighbor to their left and right if they have been saved and filled with the holy ghost.

 

This is a common tactic in the bible belt and it's very effective.

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Is it really the main mission of the "church" to gain converts? Of course, Church isn't an organization or a building, it's the community of believers. It's the job of the believers to "go and make deciples of all nations". The function of the community is to provide a place of communion and shared worship and a bonding and strengthening time for those who believe.

 

If a church decides that it will cater to the typical mindset that one has to "go to church" to be saved or learn how to be a good person or something, then I suppose greater effort would be needed to be "seeker sensitive" as they say. The reality is that most Christians and non-Christians feel like the crux of salvation lies largely on going to church. Not necessarily in word, but in practice. It is critical to come together in community, but the mission of the church and direction it takes isn't necessarily the same as it would be for the individual believer, which is all the church is made up of.

 

If the church you belonged to failed in converting new Christians, it's not the fault of the "organization" but the fault of the understanding of it's patrons as to what their particular role was/is. Basically just boils down to people not really understanding the Bible, God, his plan. It's easy for people to fall away from Christianity, especially if their expectaions (which were incorrect anyway) are not met. I imagine admittedly or not, many people on these forms fall into this category.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well I went to two churches on and off as a xian. One wasn't successful at it, the church stayed small. When I switched, it was a bigger one and they were successful at keeping members and converting new ones. They used music, they had a band, people would come up to the front to be "saved" and it was an emotional high that they relied on. They had a youth group, church camp, that type of thing, so they knew how to get people interested and stay there, mainly through jesustainment.

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Phhhbbbbbtttt! Hah! Converts? I grew up in a Catohlic parish. I didn't even use the word "convert" till after I dallied with Protestantism for a while :HaHa:

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The Lutheran church I grew up in mostly had families who had been there for years. Sometimes, they got new people who moved to the area who were already Lutheran and looking for a church.

 

The liberal church I went to briefly had no trouble gaining new converts, but a lot of them were on their way to becoming an Ex-Cer.

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Well, I'm not sure. I think we were getting a constant flow of new converts (if I remember correctly). We evangelized downtown each weekend, knocked door in the whole city (well planned organization if you ask me, divided in to zones etc), and every big holiday when many students from the university went out in the city and had big parties we went out and witnessed too. I think I participated once a week for 10 months during Bible school, but then I think I didn't go more than once a month for a few years. Don't remember, because I don't want to. I try to suppress the memories. :) (I'm refering to my time in Livets Ord and not in Calvary Chapel. In Calvary I never could get involved because of our situation.)

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Funny you should ask. :scratch:

 

My former church was a little Free Methodist church composed of members with a small town mentality. If there were over 100 people present on a Sunday....it was considered a good Sunday. Went through three ministers while I attended for 9 years....one guy was shunted for being too open minded. He was interested in what the youth had to say, was instrumental in forming an official youth group....and his picture wound up in the paper for doing a winter plunge for charity (that's where you jump into subzero water at subzero temperatures). The old fundie-minded fucks didn't like him. Got him booted and replaced with an old creep whose sermons were memory lane of his own football days in high school (I shit you not). Suprisingly this resulted in everyone under the age of 60 leaving that church......can't imagine why.

 

BUT even when attendance was up, they liked seeing new people.....so long as they were white and married, white and wealthy, or white single and of age for a relationship match for one of their own teens.

 

Otherwise.....you got THE coldest shoulder EVER. I knew this because I brought people, my friends to church (I was told I was supposed to.....part of being a good christian friend). Not all my friends were white, and few of my friends were above lower middle class. Some of my friends were even.....*shudder* Alaska Natives!!!!!! :eek:

 

My presence? It was tolerated because I was of the right age for a son of Members in Good Standing (and I'm white). Nevermind we really weren't into each other. And my father was useful as he was an electrician and was able to fix the wiring in the church. But as for acceptance? My family never really received it.

 

I suppose if didn't help that my father was quite vocal about having no desire to attend the Men's Breakfasts or the Father Son Lunches. He had a wife who was his equal, and a daughter he was (and is) quite proud of. Man doesn't have a chauvinist bone in his body....damn I love him!

 

When I left the church.....so did my parents. My mom is still a little wistful about the idea of us joining a church as a family....for a sense of community, but I think she's coming to realize it's not going to happen because her daughter is not willing to eat shit and smile.

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Haah. My Lutheran Church body (Missouri Synod) has a very efficient way of getting converts in South American countries.

 

Remember, of course, we have to convert the South Americans because they are PAPISTS!!!! and thus need to be turned away from worship of the Devil to the Right Jesus .

 

They (the missionaries) would go to a tiny village, preferably secluded, with little to no amenities. The needier the townspeople the better. Then they would offer all kinds of shiny American goodies like clean water, fresh food, and toys for the kids, in exchange for the natives' eternal souls. They would work up the community to become dependent on the church and its missionaries, and then ostracize and outcast any of the villagers who did not accept the Right Jesus . So the villagers would come to depend on the missionaries for their food, clothing, water, education, etc. In return, besides their souls, the church demanded almost all of their money.

 

The idea was to make the town so dependent on them that it would not be able to function - as in, the townspeople would literally die of starvation or disease or poverty - if they were to leave the church and return to being FILTHY DEMONIC PAPISTS!!!! This isn't some top-secret conspiracy theory, either; when our pastors encouraged us to become missionaries in our confirmation classes they were quite honest and unashamed about it.

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The idea was to make the town so dependent on them that it would not be able to function - as in, the townspeople would literally die of starvation or disease or poverty - if they were to leave the church and return to being FILTHY DEMONIC PAPISTS!!!! This isn't some top-secret conspiracy theory, either; when our pastors encouraged us to become missionaries in our confirmation classes they were quite honest and unashamed about it.

 

That's sick & evil on so many levels. :ugh:

 

South American drug lords did the same thing, btw. Get all the inhabitants of a remote, impoverished area dependent on drug money so they'll work the poppies.

 

Way to go, xtians! The Pablo Escobar method of salvation! :goodjob:

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The people in my church that ended up getting saved tended to disappear rather mysteriously after a few weeks.

 

 

Yes...those wise ones who mysteriously disappeared were probably thinking: "What the fuck am I getting myself into..."

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My church had this drama about heaven and hell last year (or the year before, i forgot) and obviously it brought in tons of people. It's called "eternity", if any of you guys have heard of it before. But well few stayed after that week.

 

Even my friends who i invited got "saved" because they were scared into the prospect of burning in hell if they hadn't accept jesus but needless to say they refused to come to church after that week when i invited them back. Just goes to show to easy it is to get people to "accept jesus" when you scare them with hell and then tell them that all they have to do is say a prayer to accept jesus and they'll be headed for heaven.

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Even my friends who i invited got "saved" because they were scared into the prospect of burning in hell if they hadn't accept jesus but needless to say they refused to come to church after that week when i invited them back. Just goes to show to easy it is to get people to "accept jesus" when you scare them with hell and then tell them that all they have to do is say a prayer to accept jesus and they'll be headed for heaven.

 

Or when you scare them with, "You're in front of a big crowd, and everybody is going to think you're an ass if you don't do this." I think that kind of immediate social pressure is a big factor in a lot of on-the-spot "conversions".

 

Way to go, xtians! The Pablo Escobar method of salvation!

 

It honest-to-God would not surprise me if they cooperated with these drug lords on some levels. I'm not saying that simply out of hate for my old church. Such action would have been viewed as "neccessary evil" for conversion of PAPISTS!!!!.

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My church had this drama about heaven and hell last year (or the year before, i forgot) and obviously it brought in tons of people. It's called "eternity", if any of you guys have heard of it before. But well few stayed after that week.

 

Maybe it's similar to one that gets put on a lot down in Australia and New Zealand called "Heaven's Gates, Hell's Flames".

 

The last church I belonged to (a city church) puts on big budget productions and advertises it and gets pretty big crowds. In fact I've had key roles in some of these productions and even played the Devil one time in Heavens' Gates Hells Flames. As is always the case, heaps of people come up the front for salvation (mainly kids). But the church never grows. For the 11 years I was going there it never really got any bigger. They increased the size of the building, that was just to make the stage bigger and the areas around the seating areas more roomy. No new pews.

 

I have been to many different churches throughout my life. Baptist and penticostal mainly. Churches grew, others decreased in size, but most new people had just moved from other churches. Churches decreased in size when new pastors took over. Others grew because the pastor was so popular. But in my experience, even when huge amounts of people come forward to be saved, it's like others have said, they either disappear and never return, or fall out once the buzz has worn off.

 

I look at churches now as being a lot like Network marketing businesses. People get converted into them, they're all excited at first, then see it's not all as it's cracked up to be and then leave. The crowds at the meetings never actually get any bigger.

 

Churches grow sure, but only at the expense of other churches.

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Churches grow sure, but only at the expense of other churches.

 

Actually, isn't Christianity just generally shrinking worldwide? At least it should be, we should ask HuaiDan to forcefully cease its spread in China.....

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It depends on the country I think. Some countries, if reports are to believed have increasing numbers of Christians. All though I've been out of the loop for a couple of years now, so don't know what the latest claims are.

 

But even if in general they are decreasing, new churches still pop up and they always gain members from other churches. They may not grow for ever, but they will grow to a certain extent. And others will lose numbers to make up for it.

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My church had this drama about heaven and hell last year (or the year before, i forgot) and obviously it brought in tons of people. It's called "eternity", if any of you guys have heard of it before. But well few stayed after that week.

 

Maybe it's similar to one that gets put on a lot down in Australia and New Zealand called "Heaven's Gates, Hell's Flames".

Ack, I saw that performance twice! The first time, I was really into it, but the second time, I was already questioning and saw through it's cheesyness and manipulative techniques. Heaven's Gates, Hell's Flames And they've got a new show out, too. Last Chance

 

 

Here's a good criticism of Heaven's Gates, Hell's Flames; "Nevertheless, I was a willing participant in what I can now only describe as manipulation of a very high order. It's not the manipulation of a Steven Spielberg or a James Cameron. That we can brush off, because it's Hollywood. This manipulation is religious, spiritual, psychological and emotional, toying with the most private and personal recesses of a person's psyche, and it has consequences that stretch beyond the walls of the theatre. And it must be opposed." Manipulation At The Altar

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That's one thing that bothered me about "Heaven's Gates, Hell's Flames" and that was the scare tactics used to get people to convert. I've never been a believer in scare tactics to get converts. Scare tactics are no way to get people to commit to Christ. It scareds people into becoming christians, but once the shock wears off, they're gone never to be seen again. It's one of the things I disagreed with most when it came to "End Times" teachings. It fed off peoples fear of the tribulation and the end of the world.

 

I had a great time doing the production though, especially playing the devil. Our stage was set so that we were off to the side a bit, but down in front of the audience(in a black area designed to represent hell). We could see right up on the stage. So we had fun (in between our scenes) trying to make the Angels laugh while they were standing on the stage trying to keep a straight face. We also made jokes about changing the script at the last moment and instead of letting the little old lady in one scene go to heaven, we joked about jumping out there and dragging her off to hell instead. :HaHa:

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I had a great time doing the production though, especially playing the devil. Our stage was set so that we were off to the side a bit, but down in front of the audience(in a black area designed to represent hell). We could see right up on the stage. So we had fun (in between our scenes) trying to make the Angels laugh while they were standing on the stage trying to keep a straight face. We also made jokes about changing the script at the last moment and instead of letting the little old lady in one scene go to heaven, we joked about jumping out there and dragging her off to hell instead. :HaHa:

That would have livened things up a bit! Start hauling all the "good believers" off to hell.

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Just finished reading that article Ex-COG. I think the author has some very valid points.

 

That would have livened things up a bit! Start hauling all the "good believers" off to hell.

 

It would have been an excellent (and humurous) twist.

 

It was some pretty scare shit though. The make up they put on me and the way they electronically altered my voice to make it sound evil. One of the lines I said was to a woman who had just committed suicide. It was "(in mock sympathy) So you thought your life was full of pain and suffering? (Then in a loud booming voice...) LET THE REAL PAIN BEGIN! LET THE REAL SUFFERING BEGIN!" Gave me goosebumps just hearing myself say those lines.

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Conversion? Hopeless. 30 years spent in probably hundreds of churches, all to no effect. The return on my investment was miniscule - non existent really.

 

 

Jon.

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I was in a Catholic church so they'd have classes for people who wanted to join the church. When the priests were about to start the communion part of the mass, they'd call the students to the front, say some words and send them to a small room in the back for studying. They were all adults. I didn't really keep track of how many stayed with the church because I didn't really know most of them. There was about ten students at once.

 

Seeing them sent off because of them not being considered ready to eat and drink the bread and wine that they thought was somehow hocus pocused into the meat and gore from Jesus reminded me of my mom telling me to stay put for communion twice, once when I was a preschooler when it seemed like a cousin was getting her first communion and then when I was in my first year of Sunday school in 6th grade when I still had not gotten communion when everybody else had. It was mystifying how they excluded me from eating a little wafer and slip some wine.

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