Sunday, December 26, 2010


There was a time when the churches were the center of the community. Except for the rarest of situations, the school has supplanted the church as that center.  The school, between families with kids in school and those who pay taxes to support it to people who follow their sports teams, has a profound shaping effect upon the community.  Recognizing this reality, my congregation has been prompted by the Holy Spirit to include this statement in our vision as a church in mission.

"We believe God wants us to partner with our schools in every way to influence children and youth for Jesus Christ."

To fullfill this our church has created a youth center with two days drop-in center programs for Middle Schools and High School.  We have made our church available as the practice site for the Junior Cheerleaders. Persons from our church volunteer in the schools building relationships and providing needed services to help the school.  We now provide leadership for an on campus student Bible study.  We sponsor two Good News Clubs at the nearest elementary schools. We are careful to be respectful to the boundaries necessary in schools to avoid church and state conflicts, the we make no secret that we do what we do because God wants us to be the best church for our community. We hope people will be open to our help spiritually as they recognize the need.

Recently I attended a meeting of our local ministerium and the Vice President for Student Services of our local school, the Hempfield School District.The schools need tutoring volunteers, parent advocacy and education programs, clearing houses for needy families physical concerns.  We are actively engaged in helping netwrok to meet those needs.  We are now helping sponsor a dialogue between the schools' leadership and the religious leadership of the community of how the churches can assist with basic human services that would normally cost schools budget monies in these fiscally stressed times.  Our Christmas offering was for the school's Good Neighbor Fund, which the Office of Student Services used to help families who financial emergencies cannot be met in other ways.

One of the thoughts that came to my mind is that our church could help the school disseminate important information to the community and to help us do our planning in a way that we could make good use of the resource that is the school. Also to avoid unnecessary conflicts when our parents are pulled one way and the church wants to pull them our way.  We have now added the website for the school district to the links section of our church web site and to our church blog. You can see these by going to our web site CHURCH OF GOD OF LANDISVILLE or to our blog BEING THE BEST CHURCH FOR THE COMMUNITY.
Trust me, the school officials were delighted at our offer.

Schools are understandably concerned when churches simply try to get into the schools to advance the goals of the church, especially when churches seem unconcerned with the perceived needs of the schools.  But we believe that churches who seem themselves as partners with the schools can benefit the entire community and remind the community that the work of Jesus is not a threat, but an enhancement.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

From Igniter Media comes this imaginative description of how Joseph and Mary would have shared the story of the Nativity had a social network existed in their day.

Monday, December 13, 2010


6 Turn offs for church visitors posted by Cliff from The Gospel

ChurchSync Doesn't Turn Visitor's Off
ChurchSync Doesn't Turn Visitor's Off

Many churches go to great lengths in order to welcome church visitors. I’m sure that we all want people to feel comfortable when they attend our churches. Even though we often mean well, we have a tendency to turn off or turn away some people with our actions.

Visitors are asked to stand up and make a speech.Research has shown that most people do not like to stand up and talk in front of groups, especially when this is a group of people they don’t know.

I’m sure you’ve heard this before: “Will all visitors please stand.”

Talking in front of the whole church may seem very common to most of us. However, this is a completely new concept for someone who is unchurched.

2. No one welcomes them at the door.
In my opinion, people that don’t normally attend church expect church people to be friendly. Church visitors should at least be met with a “good morning” or “hello” and a smile. I don’t think that is too much to ask. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.

In many churches, it is not uncommon for a visitor to walk in and take their seat without ever being greeted.

3. They get placed in a “bad” seat.
We all know that there are certain people that we would rather not sit next to in church. Most of the time it is because these people talk too much during service.

Attention ushers! Let’s try to do a better job at making sure that visitors and guests do not sit next to these people. It is hard for any visitor to enjoy the service if the person next to them is constantly talking.

4. No child care
More and more churches have special accommodations for children. This is a huge factor when people are selecting a new church to attend.

5. Nobody talks to them after church
I’ve seen this plenty of times. A visitor sits through an entire service and leaves at the end without anyone saying anything to them. Your church may be a wonderful and supportive family, but people will never know it if nobody greets them after church.

6. Follow-up caller is pushy
Many churches have visitors fill out information cards. A day or two after the service a member of the church calls to follow-up with the visitor.

Instead of being friendly and pleasant, some people treat this like a sales call. They try to close a deal for Jesus and hard sell a person into making a return visit to the church.

We can offer all of the free coffee and gift packets we want. Nothing can substitute positive or negative human interaction. When people visit your church, it is important to give them the most positive and pleasant experience possible.

What do you think? Have you encountered any turn off when you visited another church?