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 Post Post subject: Lost souls? More like lost church.
Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 10:37 pm 
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My mom sent this story to me today. I couldn't believe it.

http://www.larknews.com/archives/574

WINSTON-SALEM — Julie and Bob Clark were stunned to receive a letter from their church in July asking them to “participate in the life of the church” — or worship elsewhere.

“They basically called us freeloaders,” says Julie.

“We were freeloaders,” says Bob.

In a trend that may signal rough times for wallflower Christians, bellwether mega-church Faith Community of Winston-Salem has asked “non-participating members” to stop attending.

“No more Mr. Nice Church,” says the executive pastor, newly hired from Cingular Wireless. “Bigger is not always better. Providing free services indefinitely to complacent Christians is not our mission.”

“Freeloading” Christians were straining the church’s nursery and facility resources and harming the church’s ability to reach the lost, says the pastor.

“When your bottom line is saving souls, you get impatient with people who interfere with that goal,” he says.

Faith Community sent polite but firm letters to families who attend church services and “freebie events” but never volunteer, never tithe and do not belong to a small group or other ministry. The church estimates that of its 8,000 regular attendees, only half have volunteered in the past 3 years, and a third have never given to the church.

“Before now, we made people feel comfortable and welcome, and tried to coax them to give a little something in return,” says a staff member. “That’s changed. We’re done being the community nanny.”

Surprisingly, the move to dis-invite people has drawn positive response from men in the community who like the idea of an in-your-face church.

“I thought, ‘A church that doesn’t allow wussies — that rocks,’” says Bob Clark, who admires the church more since they told him to get lost.

He and Julie are now tithing and volunteering. “We’ve taken our place in church life,” he says. •


This. This sickens me. I'm not sure I have anymore to say right now.

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 Post Post subject: Re: Lost souls? More like lost church.
Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:28 am 
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Why is it sickening? The people don't tithe and support the church, yet they expect to receive all the help and benefits the church has to offer? I'm sure every church and ministry would love to help everyone for free, but the fact is that they can't, and God didn't intend for the church to work that way; that's why the Bible talks about tithing, and about a worker being worthy of his hire. Pastors and church staff pour their time and energy into helping others, and yet people have the audacity to refuse to support them in return?

Furthermore, the way people budget their time and money says a lot about their priorities. People can afford a nice house, two cars, pets, and a family vacation, but they can't afford to give back to the Lord what was His in the first place? And even when things aren't so peachy, God is the last person you should be ripping off. God's work needs to come before any other obligations. Besides, who do you think trusts God more: the man who says, "Okay Lord, things are tight this month, but I give my tithe to you in faith," or the person who says, "I can't afford to tithe this month, Lord, because I won't be able to pay the bills this month without that money"?

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 Post Post subject: Re: Lost souls? More like lost church.
Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:19 am 
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Okay first and most importantly, the church should be about giving what they have, the Gospel, for free. Tithing isn't about paying for the Gospel. God meant for the church and the gospel to be free, not just for due paying members. The attitude that the church isn't about being free sickens me.

Secondly the attitude that church membership should be about paying dues is exactly the attitude being mocked by this satirical piece. In case you hadn't realized yet the article isn't real, the website posts fake news articles.


Last edited by John Chrysostom on Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post Post subject: Re: Lost souls? More like lost church.
Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:33 am 
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I think the spirit behind this letter was correct (don't come to church if you aren't going to commit). Though there is a group of people that come to explore Christianity, which definitely should be allowed. The ones who should be 'got rid of' are the ones who claim to follow Christ and yet do nothing.

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 Post Post subject: Re: Lost souls? More like lost church.
Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:43 am 
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That website is satirical, with every story poking fun at evangelicals. This didn't actually happen.


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 Post Post subject: Re: Lost souls? More like lost church.
Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:00 am 
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@Astronomer Yeah just like how the father turned away the Prodigal son, only the son who stays and works hard should be allowed to stay.


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 Post Post subject: Re: Lost souls? More like lost church.
Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 1:23 pm 
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Amethystic wrote:
Why is it sickening? The people don't tithe and support the church, yet they expect to receive all the help and benefits the church has to offer? I'm sure every church and ministry would love to help everyone for free, but the fact is that they can't, and God didn't intend for the church to work that way; that's why the Bible talks about tithing, and about a worker being worthy of his hire. Pastors and church staff pour their time and energy into helping others, and yet people have the audacity to refuse to support them in return?

Furthermore, the way people budget their time and money says a lot about their priorities. People can afford a nice house, two cars, pets, and a family vacation, but they can't afford to give back to the Lord what was His in the first place? And even when things aren't so peachy, God is the last person you should be ripping off. God's work needs to come before any other obligations. Besides, who do you think trusts God more: the man who says, "Okay Lord, things are tight this month, but I give my tithe to y ou in faith," or the person who says, "I can't afford to tithe this month, Lord, because I won't be able to pay the bills this month without that money"?

(I'm going to try my best not to go off in a disrespectful rant, because I know I'm easy to jump in debates. However, if I say something that offends you, just let me know. I apologize ahead of time if that were to happen, and I will gladly and more than willingly personally apologize and find a way to make it right again.)
I actually did not notice this being fake, as my mom sent it to me and I only read that story, not explored the site. :anxious: My apologies on that note.
On another note, however, what if it had been real? What if it had actually happened? Would you have still agreed, Amy?
First of all, there is a difference between "tithing" and "offering". Tithe is giving God HIS %10 of your increase. Period. Offering comes from the other nine-tenths, meant for us to determine what to do with what. Now, God still commands us to do certain things with our offerings. Not exactly how it was in the old testament, but we are still to do some. Such as, and I will agree with this, giving to those whom God has anointed. AKA, the church and its leaders. (If I'm understanding the context correctly)
So, yes, if they weren't giving, that's a wrong on their part. However, that shouldn't be any concern of the church, nor of its leaders. That's between them and God.
I'm trying to understand something... Are you putting all the blame on the people? I'm not entirely sure I can agree with that. Yes, if they weren't giving, as I said before, that was their wrong. But it was also not the concern of the church.
You said, who is more trusting, the one who gives in faith or the one who holds back? Doesn't that count for the church as well? If the members aren't giving, the leaders shouldn't be trying to "coax them into giving some in return". If they rely on what people give (Which should be given to God to determine where it goes), and not God to bless them with more than what they need to survive, what more are they than like the money exchangers in the temple? Church isn't some "get rich quick" scheme or something. It's a house to worship the Lord. And should be nothing more or less than that.
Not only that, but if that were indeed the case, we should be wary about whether or not we even went to said church in the first place. There are men actually appointed by God to lead others to Him, and there are wolves in sheep's clothing. Would we really want to be giving to someone who steals the Lord's money in His name?
Holding back God's money from him, or taking his money "for the church" in His name, these are forms of stealing. Either way. It. Is. Wrong.
And as 11th pointed out, it would be just as though the father didn't welcome back the prodigal son. Or, maybe, what if the shepherd hadn't gone after the one lost sheep? What if the other sheep weren't producing as great of quality as the others? What if, because of that, he pushed other sheep away too?
But the truth is, he didn't. And Doesn't. He doesn't push us away, or give up on us, every time we do wrong. Instead, He waits for us. He still loves us. And when we repent, He accepts us with open, loving arms.
That's what the church's main mission is. It's not scaring them out of Hell, or out of their money. It's not for them to try and take bill money, or God's money. It's not for them to depend on the members, rather than God. It's about loving them into Heaven. Teaching them right from wrong. Helping them along their journey in the Christian faith. Loving them into His loving arms.
I guess that's what got me about the "When your bottom line is saving souls, you get impatient with people who interfere with that goal," line. Who do you think those people "interfering" are? >_> If people are doing nothing but taking up all the free food during events, leaving everything a mess, using up everything, etc. etc. etc. That's one thing. Talking to them about it, at least, would have been the better option if this had indeed been real. Not keeping them from the church. If it had just been over money, well, that's a whole other rip in itself.

I just spent two hours writing a rant over a fake news story... >_>

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 Post Post subject: Re: Lost souls? More like lost church.
Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:48 pm 
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If this were to happen, I would commend the church leaders who had the guts to "kick out" the wallflower Christians. Christ has not called his people to be lukewarm which I'm afraid is the normal spirit of churches in America. Less than half of the body is on fire and willing to put any effort into spiritual things. They may attend the assembly on a weekly basis, but the majority will not attend small groups and Bible studies during the week because they already punched in their time card for the week by going to Sunday morning worship. Christianity, contrary to popular belief, is not about "making it to heaven". Rather being a Christian (one belonging to Christ) is about serving and loving others with all of your being in the way our leader, savior, and Lord: Jesus Christ did when he walked the earth, died, rose and ascended. And as he does everyday he gives us to live.
The so called wallflower, or freeloading Christians who attend assemblies but don't serve, should be kicked out if it is affecting the body's ability to reach others.

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 Post Post subject: Re: Lost souls? More like lost church.
Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:25 pm 
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I agree 100% with Sam, Liz the church's only mission is not just to reach out to new people. The mission of the church is to serve the members it has currently. As you said it is about serving and loving others with all of our being in the way our leader, savior, and Lord: Jesus Christ did. When did Christ send people away or tell them to leave Him?


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 Post Post subject: Re: Lost souls? More like lost church.
Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:01 pm 
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I agree with Liz, church leaders have a responsibility to their whole church to kick out lukewarm Christians. After all look at what God says in Revelation 3:14-17 "‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked."

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 Post Post subject: Re: Lost souls? More like lost church.
Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:05 pm 
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But some people honestly cannot do more than come on Sunday mornings. Not everyone falls into this category, but there are people who due to personal reasons can't be involved with a small group, or volunteer work or whatever.

I have a sister who is pretty severely disabled, and when she was born, she couldn't leave the house for 6 months, because her health was so fragile. My parents would switch off going to church so that someone could say home with my sister. Since she couldn't get sick, we had to limit exposure to possible illness, and that meant my mom not helping in the nursery/children's classes, and us not attending every outreach opportunity. (I'll also add that these precautions were taken in every area of our lives, and not just church. I remember that I didn't go pretty much anywhere other than church, and hiking with our family for those 6 months.)

It wasn't that we wanted to just take and not give, but it wasn't possible at the time. Thankfully my sister is way stronger, and we're able to be pretty actively involved in the church we're at now. But sometimes it's way harder than it looks for someone to even make it to church on Sunday mornings, and just because your family has been blessed with a situation where you can give more, I don't think it's very Christ like to judge others because they can't.

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 Post Post subject: Re: Lost souls? More like lost church.
Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:42 pm 
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@Jonny, I see your point, and I will have to think about it more. As someone who grew up in the pastor's house and someone who often has a position of leadership with in congregations, the people who don't do anything but show up tick me off when I work my tail off and put other things on hold in order to serve the same people week in and week out with no visible fruit. I do understand that this is a personal problem I must deal with, but it is part of the reason my opinions are as previously stated.

@JP: I am in no way refferencing those who legitimately cannot serve/participate. I should have been clearer. My problem is with the those who often time appear to feel entitled to whatever they want instead of being humble and greatful for for things they receive/ services provided. Generally the people who come for years and years and show no fruit and are not willing to participate in the assembly/ body except by sitting on a pew, but have the ability and gifts to do so much more.

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 Post Post subject: Re: Lost souls? More like lost church.
Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:52 am 
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John Chrysostom wrote:
@Astronomer Yeah just like how the father turned away the Prodigal son, only the son who stays and works hard should be allowed to stay.

That's not what I was talking about, sorry to be so unclear. I was speaking more along the lines of a son who says, "I'll go work on the farm. I'll tend the cows and till the fields," then sits on the couch watching TV all day. People who come are, of course, to be accepted. However, those who claim to follow Christ and aren't should be spoken to and asked if they really want to commit to being Followers of Christ. Now, obviously, this shouldn't be done through a letter. Jesus explains how to do it in Matthew. Whether excommunication involves casting people out of the church or not, I don't know. Jesus says to treat them as tax collectors and sinners, which were served and loved.
We should accept those who come to us, but we also shouldn't allow those who claim the name of Christ to disregard everything he taught. That's why there are so many hypocrites in the Church, because those who come to the meetings aren't actually following Jesus.
Sorry for being unclear. I hope this cleared things up.

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 Post Post subject: Re: Lost souls? More like lost church.
Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:56 am 
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Matthew 18 is dealing with unrepentant sinners, are you really saying that not tithing or not going to extra services is sinning? I guess we should define what exactly someone has to do, or not do as the case may be, to deserve excommunication.

But if we're using Matthew 18 then we should really look at the whole chapter including the passage right after the one about excommunication. "Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.""

“So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”


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 Post Post subject: Re: Lost souls? More like lost church.
Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:19 am 
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I think it is a sin to not tithe and excommunication should be used. I mean look in Acts 5, what happened to Ananias and Sapphira when they held back some of their tithe. You either serve Christ or you serve the devil.

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 Post Post subject: Re: Lost souls? More like lost church.
Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:16 pm 
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I see no benefit to kicking people out of the church for being "wallflowers." This just means they need to be welcomed in even more, to have more efforts put into making them feel at home and like members of the church body. Then would they be more likely to serve and give themselves to the church. What does the church gain by dismissing them? An empty seat for someone else to fill? What does the family lose by being forced to leave? Perhaps everything.

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 Post Post subject: Re: Lost souls? More like lost church.
Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:05 pm 
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Margaret Thatcher wrote:
I think it is a sin to not tithe and excommunication should be used. I mean look in Acts 5, what happened to Ananias and Sapphira when they held back some of their tithe. You either serve Christ or you serve the devil.

Er, no. That happened because they deliberately did "not lie just to human beings but to God", verse 3... make sure you're reading the Word correctly before spouting off nonsense.

While tithing and being involved in a church is Biblical, I don't think this would have been right. Where else are they going to be taught on what's right? Of course, some people are always going to do what they want to do, but some people, if not taught, just don't know.

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 Post Post subject: Re: Lost souls? More like lost church.
Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:05 pm 
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Yeah...I would disagree about tithing being a mandatory thing. In fact, Galatians 3 and 2 Corinthians 9, among other passages, seem to indicate that the 10% tithe is no longer binding to New Testament Christians. Instead, we are to give as we felt led by God, cheerfully and without feeling compelled to give. If this were a true story, I would suspect that the church in question had an unbiblical view of tithing, on the surface level, but on a deeper level, a misunderstanding of the Gospel. As John said earlier, the purpose of the Church is to preach the Gospel to all. If recurring visitors choose not to give to the church, that's between them and God. It's not something that needs church discipline. Now, if there's a problem with a member refusing to give, that could be a different discussion. But in this case, I see no problem with the people continuing to come to the church without paying, if only because they will continue to hear and see the Gospel being preached and lived.


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 Post Post subject: Re: Lost souls? More like lost church.
Posted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:37 pm 
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I would agree with Christian A that yes it is different when the people not tithing are members versus visitors or those that are still exploring Christianity. I think it would be proper to discipline members though, that's the point of the body after all, otherwise we could just all be off doing our own thing.

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 Post Post subject: Re: Lost souls? More like lost church.
Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:34 pm 
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This is an awful long discussion to come from an article that is basically the religious equivalent of "The Onion."

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