It seems like "Bedside Baptist" may be increasing their attendance:
Sunday Morning, Staying Home
(click through to the article this refers to)
I don’t agree with everything this article says but it’s interesting to me since I took a few months off of going to church this year. For me, it was just that I needed a break since I had been doing a lot of ministry in my church. One thing that I was longing for in the last year or so was to do more ministry work outside of the church walls. I felt like we definitely had it covered if people happened to walk in but really nothing was being done to bring them in and the church wasn’t providing any outlets to do that.
Now, I know that I could have done it. I could have gone out and did my own ministry – after first praying about it of course. Two things. One, I’ve had no training – not that you need tons but when you grow up inside the church walls, it’s a little scary leaving them. This is something I’m working on and I’ve found that it’s not as scary as I thought but still some coaching wouldn’t have hury. Two… darn, I forgot the second thing I was thinking of. Anyway, doing ministry doesn’t have to be "church sanctioned", I know. And there’s no question that God wants us to do it.
We each do have our own pulpit. The people around us are the ones we need to show God’s love to. Ok, so what does that mean? To me, it means that we need to love them and let God do the rest. God is all about love. In this time and place, there are lots of people who don’t know real love. They don’t know that God isn’t up there with lightning bolts in his hands, aiming us up, just waiting for us to fail. It’s the total opposite and he loves it when we’re happy – doing things like skiing or working on our cars. He loves that! Anyway, we just need to step out of ourselves and reach out to others. There is sometimes so little of that going on that when it’s genuinely done, people notice – big time! Then you just keep doing it, pray and let God do the rest. He’s got all kinds of resources at his disposal. We’re just here to love – you know, like the ’60s, man!
Back to this article… it seems to be criticizing the research done by someone else a little but here’s an interesting quote:
Women in particular leave evangelical churches, Ms. Duin says, because they are asked to do too little by their churches. Ms. Duin, who has a seminary degree, writes: "I have been one of those unwanted women for years." In fact, Ms. Duin’s interest in her subject is partly autobiographical: She left a church in 2001 and didn’t find a new one until 2007. She has lived through the process of church-quitting, and she has interviewed a lot of people with the same experience.
Asked to do too little? I guess I can see that. People want to feel wanted and lots of people do want to give of themselves to help others since it’s so rewarding. For me, it was too much for too long and I needed a break. I’ll get back to it in a while but for now I’m on sabattical. Taking a break. We need that, too… or at least I do – the way I’m built.
It is good to go to church though. We need encouragement from others. We’re not meant to walk alone and God is speaking through many good pastors out there. I have a friend that is going without a church right now and I hate to say it, but it shows. Breaks are fine, if they’re needed, but we need to be with others that share our same faith – be that at a church, at someone’s house or a coffeeshop meeting. That’s how God made us.