Saturday, November 14, 2015

Death of PECUSA

The Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.
died a slow death over many years
which would take a team of scholars 
to trace through archives to record.

It will probably never be done
because its successor denomination 
is a failure and is itself suffering
a terminal decline in membership.

No one who participated in the downfall
wishes to take the blame, thus proving
that success has a thousand fathers
whereas failure is an orphan.

It is all too easy to blame acceptance
of homosexual clergy and women's
ordination as sole factors, but dry
rot preceded these developments.

The trigger event was an attempt
by the church leaders to seek a 
rapprochement with the Vatican
by becoming catholic in practice.

The tradition of morning prayer
as the principal Sunday service
was replaced by a mandate to 
schedule only Holy Eucharist.

Instead of calling the clergy,
ministers, and Mr. So and So,
they were now to be priests
and referred to as Father.

The familiar costume of cassock,
surplice, and academic hood,
was universally replaced with
the alb, stole, or vestment.

Totally lost in outward change
was the reform strain of Anglicanism.
The moral code was no longer 
preached nor taught in church school.

Eventually, Episcopal church services 
became therapeutic sessions 
emphasizing God's love 
with no price to pay in return.

One need not go to church 
to feel good about oneself,
which makes attending and
joining a church irrelevant.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Church Marketing

To some, the idea of church marketing
is a dirty concept, rooted in secularism.
To St.Paul, it was a necessity to market
the gospel to the heathen and all.

He did it by going into the streets
like a town crier announcing the news,
by making converts among the rich
who had influence in their communities.

Rick Warren started his Saddleback church
by knocking on the doors in his locale.
You can't just open the doors and 
expect people to find you, he said.

You have to emphasize community;
communal worship is the backbone
of every organized religion, because
it gives people another home.

They don't much care about theology
or whether your denomination is for
or against some social issue, they
just want to belong to a group.

They want to be told how to behave,
they want to be assured of God's love,
they want the strength to cope with
the vicissitudes of living.

Use the media to tell people that your 
church exists, that's all it's good for.
Most of it is free and responsive to
any kind of a good story.

Don't smother the furtive newcomers.
Greet them at the door, but give them
a chance to experience the services
for a while before signing them up.

The relationship will be cemented
when the newcomers find activities
that they feel comfortable with 
and enjoy doing in small groups.

They they become what we used
to call pillars of the church, and 
take part in the running and the
ownership of what is "their" church.