"The 21st Century
Grocery Story Mentality
Church Experience"

Is this how you and visitors feel when leaving your Church?

Before getting into the comparison of our 20th and 21st century local Churches with our 20th and 21st century shopping experiences at our local grocery store, I'm going to take just a moment to share with you my wife's and my recent vacation, Sunday worship experience.

While on vacation my wife and I visited a large local Church that -- only a few years ago -- had packed out Sunday morning worship services that required using their overflow areas, and evening worship services that were 2/3 to 3/4 full.  Now, that Church only has one Sunday AM worship service.  After our vacation was complete and we arrived home, my wife asked the following questions,

where are their members that are required to work the day and early afternoon shifts because they are service employees i.e., nurses, doctors, law enforcement officers, firemen and women, hotel and etc. employees going to worship and have local Church Family fellowship?

Aren't they telling those members and others, i.e., folks in their community, travelers that are passing through their community and others that they aren't interested or concerned about them and their Spiritual needs?

Then she made the following observations and conclusions:

This church is behind on their budget.

Service industry workers are generally well paid and they usually have good benefits.  Our Lord commands us to bring our offerings to the local assembly on the first day of the week.  Church leaders and members don't want to be bothered by evening worship services and are indicating to the service industry members, community and visitors i.e., nurses, doctors, law enforcement, firemen and women, hotel and etc. employees that they aren't interested in their Spiritual welfare so -- it should go without saying, no evening worship service, therefore, no evening offerings If the Church leadership and membership is only interested in what these folks can and are expected to do for them, i.e., be there for their Sunday and late night medical emergency, Sunday and late night fire emergency, Sunday and late night law enforcement emergency, Sunday and late night hotel and restaurant needs while on a trip and away from home (as we were), the Church leadership and membership is selfish, self serving and deserves to financially fail.
 

_________________________________________________

NOW UNTO
"The 21st Century
Grocery Story Mentality
Church Experience"

The following is my comparison of today's 20th and 21st century Church worship
and fellowship
 with shopping at a grocery store.
 

The following is not a spur of the moment idea.  I have been observing and living with the following truths and suggestions for nearly 40-years.

Have you recently visited any local Churches?
Did you experience the following?

1. Before shopping, do I have any predisposed goals and expectations in mind concerning the store that  I’m going to shop at?

Can the same thing be said about visitors in our worship services? 

2. While traveling to the grocery store, I'm very mindful of the vehicles and drivers that are around me on my way to the store.

QUESTION:
As a member of our Church family, what are my driving habits, especially if I have a "Jesus Saves" or "Jesus is my Co-Pilot" or the "fish symbol" sticker on my vehicle?  As a visiting Pastor traveling to Churches for Pulpit Supply or -- simply as a visitor, more times than I care to remember, I’ve noted rude and obnoxious drivers that are driving near and around me and then – I  followed them or they followed me into the church parking lot.

3. When we enter the grocery store parking lot, were we forced to dodge enthusiastic and rude drivers who seem to have only one thing in mind, "You're in my way and I'm in a hurry to find the very best parking place - right next to the building"?  As a Church member, what are my parking lot driving habits like?  Please allow me to share a personal pet-peeve.  For  anyone other than the "handicap," why are there reserved parking spaces in our parking lots.  Pastors and members, aren't we supposed to be servants to all and not ruler over, all?

4. As we walked into the grocery store and someone with a smile greeted us with, "Thank you for coming to our store" and then handed us a flyer (in our churches it's called a church bulletin).  Did they show you around or introduce you to someone who did?   How do we greet and seat our visitors?

Please allow me to share another personal pet-peeve. We've walked into church after church looking for a seat only to discover that seating is reserved by Bibles, coats, etc, forcing us to sit at the very rear or off to one side or another of the sanctuary.  Choir members and Church leaders, we are servants to and of the membership and visitors, not rulers and or special people.  This practice makes visitors feel totally unwelcome!!  If you're a choir member and the sanctuary is full, Pastor -- have enough common sense to instruct the choir to remain in the choir loft or -- have reserved choir family seating in the rear of the sanctuary.

 5. Just as in the grocery store, as we find our own way around -- were we met with crowded     aisles of  enthusiastic, rushing and smiling people?  Did we even get bumped and  thumped? Did some folks smile in our direction and yet, say nothing to us?  While  in the store did we hear the store manager's voice over the P.A. assuring us that he cares about our shopping experience and he desires to personally serve us?  In fact, we walked by him and observed him standing in his  manager's cubicle.  Isn't it strange that he {like many Pastors) and Church Family leaders never left  his place behind his desk to come down to meet us or shake our hand?  Why is that?

6. Before we left the store, we were asked to pay?  Pastor and Church family member, I'm going to make a suggestion based upon my own convictions and experience.  Never ask a visitor to contribute to our membership love offerings.  When you have visitors in your home, do you ask them for a financial gift?  Our operating expenses are our responsibility and not, our visitors.  Please make this fact very clear to visitors.  Too often I have been told by folks who have visited New Testament Church worship services with the condemning statement, "They didn't care about me or my family what-so-ever!  All they wanted was my money!"  Yes, we need funds to continue our ministries but not our "asked for" -- visitor's funds.  The following is not a cliché, it is a fact, "God's work done God's way will not lack God's support.  He is far too wise to make mistakes and far too loving to embarrass us."

7. As we leave the store, does someone say with a smile, "It was so nice that you came to shop in our store today?  Did you find everything that you were looking for?  Please hurry back."  We know they are really saying "We need your business $$$$$ because it's our business and job security.”   

What do the visitors of our worship services think and tell others when they leave our Church?  

8. After shopping at the local grocery store or visiting a local Church family we again end up in the parking lot and people are usually all around us. Did anyone show an interest in us or talk to us on our way to our vehicle or while in the parking lot?

9. We located our vehicle and -- after dodging enthusiastic and rude drivers who seemed to have only one thing in mind "You're in my way and I'm in a hurry to get out of here"....we found a safe way out of the parking lot and went home. I truly do not like admitting the following:  As a general rule my wife and I have found that, as a visitor leaving worship services, it is wise  for us to "simply sit in our vehicle and wait" for the initial  membership rush to leave and then we leave the church parking lot. 

How is it in your church parking lot? 

10. After arriving home from the grocery store and relaxing, did we think about our shopping  experience?  When given any opportunities -- do we tell others all about our experience, good or bad?  Do we really believe that visitors of our worship services will respond any differently when asked questions about our Church family when given the opportunity to talk to others?

Pastors, Christians, Church members and Church leaders:

Our worship services are Spiritual ministries for the Spiritually ill which includes you, me and all visitors.  We are all, each and every one of us,  Spiritually ill.  As local church family ministries, we are Spiritual Hospitals and not entertainment centers.  All who enter need the Word of God ministered with clarity.  Pastors, that's our responsibility, Nehemiah chapter 8 and 2 Timothy chapter 4.  Everyone in attendance (including us) need meat and potato "sermons"; for the lost and wanna-be christians (lower case "c") onto salvation, for Christians (upper case "C") onto correction, new direction, perfection, encouragement and growth.  There is no place in our Lord's local Church family ministries for "sermon-etts" and "christian-etts" (lower case "c") -- 10 minute feel-good-warm-fuzzy sermon-etts.  {Truly Born Again Christians, upper case "C" possessors, vs. christians, lower case "c" professors}.

Our music should educate, inspire, encourage, fortify and lift our God, His power and His divine presence in our life and ministry, Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16, James 5:13.  Today's 7-11 ditties (7 words or phrases sung 11 times over and over) may be fun and have a place; they should never replace our age old Psalms and Hymns that are based upon the Word of God for worship and praise!  Some thoughts concerning music and worship services:

My wife and I have worshiped in local church family ministries across our nation.  While raising our family, we sang as a family in other Church ministries and not just our own home church.  In recent years, across this nation, Mary and I have been unable to sing with the local congregations because there is no written music, hymnals or song books.  Though we may remember some of the words to their choruses, it seems that no two Churches sing the same choruses using the same music.  Recently we visited a Church and the drum beat was so strong and so loud that we "literally" wanted to run out of the sanctuary.  And adding to this insult on our hearing, previously having been in training for jungle missionary evangelism, we recognized the drum beat as almost exactly the same beat and rhythm used by satanic tribes going into war.  Church after Church is losing membership because of their leadership's divisive attitudes concerning music and are literally driving their older and Spiritually mature members out of the membership (who, by the way, had the vision and blessings of our Lord to build and maintain the facilities that these folks now enjoy using).    

Those of you who no longer "REGULARLY" use a hymnal, song book or written music, do you know that it was the Church that gave musical talent to the public school systems and not the public schools giving musical talent to the Church.  In the public school systems, it is only a select few individuals who actually learn how to sing in harmony by using written music. These select few are enrolled in choir classes and or are involved in a glee club and other musical interests.   Previously -- in the Church, all Fundamental Churches, everybody -- young and old -- could learn how to read music and, every individual in a Church Worship Service who wanted to, learned how to sing in harmony. 

QUESTION, Now who’s going to teach our children how to sing musical harmony -- the public school system?  The pop culture singers and musicians?  Is that what you really desire?!  The unsaved world of rock and roll, sexual, violence and hate filled lyrics, filth, rap and etc?  The vast majority of their music (noise) doesn’t require harmony – just loud drums, especially very loud bass drums!

Each visitor needs personal attention and deserves -- personal attention. How else will we ever discover their spiritual and physical needs?  This is every member's responsibility and not just the Pastor's.

I'm going to make a suggestion from my own personal experience and practice; no visitor should ever leave our Sunday morning or evening ministry without an invitation for a meal or in the very least, coffee somewhere other than in the Church building.  Pastors, Leaders and Church Family members, each of you leaves and goes somewhere, home or otherwise, to eat after the worship services.  Invite a visitor (or visiting family) to join you, and, you pay for it.  If you cannot afford to pay for the meal, ask the Church to help.  A few years ago my wife and I visited a local Church family not far from our home. We noticed a man there who was sitting alone.  We asked and discovered that he was on a business trip (a married man with children, 2,200 miles from home).  Mary and I observed that not a single member or the Pastor greeted him (or us) in any way so we invited him to eat with us at a restaurant about 2-miles from the church.  We had a wonderful time of fellowship and were able to encourage him.

sending informative ministry information to a visitor's home:

Pastors and Board members, sending informative ministry information to a visitor's home may be a good thing but it'll never replace or be as effective as a personal home visit.  Others have said to us and - we have personally experienced -- visiting local Church Family ministries for several weeks without having anyone even invite us to a Sunday School class, a Prayer meeting or receiving so much as a phone call from the Pastor, church leader or members.  Pastors, leaders and members:

TRUTHS TO BE CONSIDERED CONCERNING VISITORS:

A. There is never a second opportunity for a first impression.

B. We may never have another opportunity to:

**lead that visitor to Christ, (our Lord brought them to us)

    **resolve a problem that may destroy

a) their marriage

b) their future or

c) cost that visitor or others, because of them, their lives creating
     a life time of pain
because we didn't minister to THEIR NEEDS
     WHEN WE HAD OUR "GOD GIVEN" and "GOD ORDAINED"
     OPPORTUNITY.

As the Senior Pastor, Pulpit Supply or Interim Pastor of local Church families, by simply meeting, greeting and talking with visitors as they were coming in and going out of our worship services, I have been privileged, with the Lord's leadership and direction, to restore marriages, families and be used of the Spirit to save lives.  Our LOCAL worship services are Spiritual hospitals.  There isn't a person in attendance (including the Pastor) that hasn't been under Satan's attack during the week and hasn't been wounded or discouraged.  Born Again Christians and unsaved individuals do not attend worship services simply out of desire or habit.  It is our Lord and Saviour, through the drawing of the Holy Spirit, Who directs each and every person into our worship services.  Each and every person is in need of encouragement and spiritual healing through the hearing of the Word of God, the singing of Hymns and songs and through personal fellowship.

 

PS: PASTORS,

If you're a hollerer, screamer, shouter, foot stomping and pulpit pounding preacher, shame on you!  The world hollers, screams, shouts, blows their horns and abuses God's kids and the unsaved folks seven days a week, you and I don't need to join that crowd.

 

Take a lesson from Elijah,

Elijah was having a physical, emotional and spiritual breakdown.

1 Kings 19:4

"But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, "It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!" 

 

He was physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted, just like many of your congregation:

 

1 Kings 19:11-12 
Then He said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord." And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; [12] and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. [13] And it came about when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

 

You're a spiritual physician working and operating in a spiritual hospital -- a quiet zone.  Has your Lord and Saviour ever hollered, screamed, shouted, shook His fists, stomped His feet or pounded His pulpit with you?

 

AN ADDITIONAL THOUGHT PROVOKING FACT,
we now have

Traditional Worship Service:      ??:?? AM
Contemporary Worship Service: ??:?? AM

NOTE THE WORDING, "WORSHIP" SERVICE

Correct me if I'm wrong.  Aren't these marquees and signs openly admitting to the communities that they are attempting to reach for Jesus Christ that they are divided and they cannot agree or get along in the same service?  QUESTION: How does this admission square with the following Scriptures that we all know so very well,

1 Corinthians 13:5c
"Love, does not seek its own, ...."

Another verse that we may not know as well,

1 Corinthians 10:24
"Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth."

And, a verse that truly puts this issue in a correct perspective,
and,
may make the remainder of this page -- unnecessary,

Philippians 2:21
"For
all seek their own,
not the things which are Jesus Christ's."

 

THE FOLLOWING VERSE REVEALS TWO IMPORTANT FACTS
ABOUT LIFE AND MINISTRY

Mark 3:24-25 
Jesus taught: "If (1) a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. [25] And if (2) a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand."

 

How and what are you and your Church family doing? 

The purpose of this page is to give you some ideas with which 
to approach your Pastor, Church board and Church family
for Godly encouragement and change.

"GoldenFaithBibleChurch.org" is not a 501c3 organization.
You will receive a receipt for your financial gifts, be aware, your gifts are not tax deductible.

 
Please be advised, Rev. Robert J. Kuiphoff is an Ordained Minister of the Word of God and is not a licensed or trained Attorney, Psychologist, Psychiatrist or Medical Practitioner or Physician.  Any and all counsel, suggestions and / or advice derived from www.goldenfaithbiblechurch.org or via email, telephone or personal conversations with Rev. Robert J. Kuiphoff is based solely upon Rev. Robert J. Kuiphoff's personal convictions concerning the Word of God; his personal interpretation of the Word of God and his lengthy experience counseling and advising men, women and children concerning the Christian Life and daily walk in the world that we all live in from the Word of God and / or his personal observations and experiences.

How can I encourage you?


This is my personal mailbox.
How are you doing?  How can I encourage you?

Sincerely,
Rev. Robert J. Kuiphoff (Pastor K) 

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