Why Do People Choose to Stop Coming to Worship?

Psalm 95 Invites us and even commands us to come together as God’s people and worship Him 

Psalm 95:1-7 (NIV2011)

1  Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

2  Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.

3  For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.

4  In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.

5  The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.

6  Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;

7  for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. 

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I have a hard time understanding why people choose to belong to a church and not come at all.  Why do people choose to stop coming to church? Here are my ten guesses.

  1. They have something to do that they feel is more important or more enjoyable. God is great but not that great, really. God has had a long history of people who chose other gods before Him.

    1 b. They like to sleep in on Sunday (The tired version of number 1.)  The Great God who created them, called them and saved them isn’t worth waking up for.  The Son who died on the Cross for them after staying up all night praying for their salvation and sanctification (John 17) isn’t worth waking up to honor..  The Spirit of Christ who is with His people whenever two or three come together will have to make due without them.

  2. They watch church on television or listen to it on the radio and get more out of it. This would be a good time to state that no one really goes to church, we are the church, and the church comes together to worship God as His people. How will people see his people if they don’t ever come together.

  3. They commune with God in nature. Great! That is all the more reason to gather with His people and sing His praises for His great creation. In fact it looks like a nature communer wrote the Psalm 95 call to worship. See verses 4 and 5.

  4. They have been hurt by someone in the church. This is a painful problem. However, staying away doesn’t help them resolve anything and addressing the conflict might help both parties grow and help prevent the church from hurting someone else. Jesus gave us a playbook for these situations and it didn’t say, “Walk away and never come back.”.

  5. They don’t have any friends to go with. This can be hard, but if they don’t come it will be hard to make friends with people who do come.

  6. They feel that the church is full of hypocrites. True enough! But there is always room for one more. God calls all of us hypocrites to take off our fake faces. It takes time for us to trust Him and learn to be authentic. It takes time for us to realize our own hypocrisy.

  7. They are tired of being asked to do everything. They need to learn to say, “No.” Sometimes people can get burned out and need a season of rest. If the church they are a part of won’t take “No” for an answer, they might want to worship elsewhere, but they should not stop worshipping altogether. That would raise the question of who they were trying to impress with all their service.

  8. They are angry or bitter with God. One of the best reasons on the list so far, but staying angry with God is exhausting and fruitless. People need to come to Him and express their anger directly and find resolution.

  9. They don’t get anything out of church. Two problems with this one. The people who I suspect are not getting much out of church, I also suspect are not putting much into church. They do not expect much because they do not exert much. The greater problem with this one is that we do not worship God because of what we can get out of Him but because of what we have already received from Him. We worship to give back to God--our Savior, our Maker, our Provider, our Guide, our Protector. Every breath, every hour, every good gift we have the privilege to enjoy is from Him. The true worshipper takes time to come together with God’s people to acknowledge all God has already done.

  10. They don’t fear God anymore or believe in God anymore. This reason makes the most sense and probably is the underlying reason behind many of the others. The day will come when God will make clear to all that He is worthy of our reverence.

Psalm 95 warns against disregarding God’s call as His people have done in the past and adds some urgency to his invitation to come together! 

Psalm 95:7-11 (NIV2011)

Today, if only you would hear his voice,

8  “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,

9  where your ancestors tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did.

10  For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.’

11  So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”

If you know someone who has drifted away, please pray for them and invite them back.  Maybe God wants us all to be thinking more about, “What makes people want to come back to church?”  

If you aren’t coming to church anymore, and your reason isn’t listed, I’d like to hear it.  If you stopped coming to church and have since started coming again, welcome back.  I would love to hear what it was that helped you come back.

 

Blessings - Pastor Harrison


 
 

What is a Small Group?

What is a small group? Do we call them small groups? Should we give them different names like: home groups, pods, life groups, discipleship groups, cells, or Bible studies? How often should they meet: weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly? Should we have age, sex, or life stage specific groups? What day of the week should they meet on? Should they be at the church or in homes, or on a lake or a park or a gun range or a restaurant? Should they be short-term interest groups or long-term life together group? How will we grow the group’s ministry; multiplication or addition? 

These are the questions many of you have been asking and I’ve asked myself. So, I thought I’d take some time to define what are small groups at SRBC. First let me pose a question of my own, do we need to be so exclusive?

Earlier this week Crystal and her kids gave the staff Scratch Cupcakes! If you don’t know what they are look them up, but they have cupcakes I’ve never even dreamed of, for example a Reese’s pieces cupcake. The point is a cupcake is a cupcake is a cupcake, we all know the essential qualities of a cupcake. So a cupcake with sprinkles may not be for you, but it’s still a cupcake. When the supporting ingredients change, we don’t get confused because what is essential is constant; sugary taste, cup like shape, and frosting. The same can be true for small groups, we don’t need to box ourselves into long-term only or weekly only if everyone is clear on what’s a small group. So, then, what’s a small group at SRBC, what are the essential ingredients? 


The essential ingredients of a small group are Connect, Grow, Serve, and Go! Just four simple ingredients to a successful SRBC small group.

  • A small group Connects with each other and God through regular fellowship with God and each other.

  • A small group Grows by studying God’s word and/or a Christian study together, to increase love for and obedience to God.

  • A small group Serves God and each other sacrificially by using their time, ability, & resources. 

  • A small group Goes on mission to show God’s love and share God’s truth through Go Projects. 


That’s it, well that’s an awesome calling! You want to add sprinkles to your group by making it a short-term men’s group that Connects, Grows, Serves, and Goes while at a gun range… GO FOR IT! You want to start a marriage small group… GO FOR IT! You want to start a long-term group for people in your city… GO FOR IT! You want to start a small group of 20 somethings that meets at different local coffee shops… GO FOR IT! You want to follow Jesus… Further? Start a small group! 

A small group is as creative as your imagination allows! At the end of the day a small group is a small group not because of its sprinkles, but because of the essential ingredients of Connect, Grow, Serve, and Go.

Want to learn how the essential ingredients work together?

Go to http://www.steamboatbaptist.org/smallgroup, Fill out the Start a Group information and plan on attending Small Group Leader Training August 4th & 11th, or August 18th & 25th.

 

Blessings - Vince Derr

connections pastor


 
 

The Vision & Value of Youth Ministry at Steamboat Rock Baptist Church: Why Youth Ministry Matters for Your Student

What a privilege I have had to lead the youth ministry here at this church for the past 14 years. We have had some amazing students along the way, faithful youth leaders and great parents to partner in ministry with. There have been big changes along the way both in terms of our weekly programming and in youth culture as a whole. When I was first hired, someone asked me what intentions I had behind the planning that would be done within the ministry. I shared Matthew 22:37-40 with them, “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” These sacred words still hold great value in our ministry today. In all that we do, we’re trying to help students love Jesus and love others. 

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In the next few paragraphs, I hope to sell all of our parents (and some grandparents/guardians) on why youth ministry matters to your student. Before getting to the good stuff, here are a few thoughts on what I believe youth ministry is not:

  • It’s not a babysitting service. Thankfully, to my knowledge, I haven’t seen a ton of this in the past 14 years. The students who join us either really want to grow closer to Jesus or their parents have good intentions of wanting them to grow closer to Jesus (or at least be better human beings in society). And to be honest, I’m good with either one!

  • It’s not the main plan for discipleship. For the most part, the times that I’ve seen students own their faith the most in M.S. and H.S is when discipleship is already happening at home. Ultimately, Christian parents have a responsibility to disciple their kids (see Deuteronomy 6:4-7). But I believe a youth ministry can be a big encouragement and support in the discipleship of a student as well and come alongside families to help with discipleship. Also, many of our students that attend Radiate don’t have Christian parents. Our weekly ministry gives them opportunities to follow Jesus further.

  • It’s not all fun & games. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that we love fun and games at Radiate! And we incorporate a good dose of that in our weekly ministries. However, there is always purpose behind the fun that we have. They ultimately set the stage for students being open to hearing the Word of God taught to them.

So, if youth ministry isn’t about those things, why should our students invest their valuable time each week to be involved? Here are a few reasons why I think it’s important that students, especially our church students, are a part of our weekly youth ministry programming:

  • More opportunities for personal spiritual growth. Church with family trumps youth group in my opinion. But being challenged from God’s Word each week as it pertains to M.S. or H.S. students is a great way to flourish in your faith. I also believe there is something powerful with worshipping and praying with a room full of your peers. Looking at all of the activities our students are a part of during their week, I think a couple hours on a Wednesday or Sunday is a great use of time.

  • They can impact eternity through the reach they have. Our teenagers will never have more non-believing connections than they have in Middle School or High School. What a powerful time to invest in their friends, classmates and teammates by offering an invite or just being present to add their thoughts on discussion or small group time during teaching times. I would never be able to count the number of students who have come to Radiate on the arm of a friend. And even when our church kids don’t have anyone to invite or a way to get their friends there, their presence no doubt plays a big part in what happens during a Wednesday or Sunday night. Sometimes those friends that are invited and we’re trying to intentionally reach out to will only show up if they know their friend from school will be there.

  • Life changing trips. Many know my story of my life changing forever on a mission trip when I was 14 years old. The same can be said of many students from our church over the years. Students get to spend close time with their peers and leaders with the sole intention of serving for a week in Hungary, Brazil or Colorado Springs or whatever mission they’re on. We also go to Village Creek Bible Camp for a Fall Retreat, where a teen’s faith is often times revitalized. These special moments hold great value in the lives of our students.

  • Come to give, not just get. Much of our society has become consumeristic where we look to see what we alone can get out of something or someone. Unfortunately, this has crept into church life as well. There are always spots to serve in Radiate, whether it’s on the worship team, helping with the computer, greeting students or being on the eLevate Student Leadership Team which helps make decisions for our youth ministry. Just by being present each week, students model giving and hospitality to non-church kids who may be attending.

  • Spiritual community matters. Through the Sticky Faith Project by Fuller Seminary, their study showed that Christian students need 5 adults in their life (other than parents) to give them the best chance to fully own their faith at graduation. Why not take advantage of our awesome youth small group leaders? Most parents would want another godly adult investing in their child through monthly connections and prayer. Just like attending church matters each week (not to get perfect attendance or to be legalistic about being there every week), accountability happens within our youth ministry as well. When we see a student show up each week, we have the opportunity to ask them about their highs and lows of the week, obstacles in their faith and to help foster their overall spiritual growth.

You might be saying, Bryce, I agree with all of those things… but, what if my teen just doesn’t want to go to youth group? Well, that is a great question and definitely a topic to wrestle with as a family. To be honest, I’m a biased youth pastor but I’ll share my opinion as a parent of two M.S. students and my life long career as a youth pastor. Simply put, we don’t offer our kids an option on some things that we think are pertinent to the health and well-being of our children. For instance, I guarantee that if you don’t make your kids get out of bed to make it to school on time, they’re not getting up every morning. Some will but not all. If you don’t make your kids eat healthy or make them go to bed at a certain time, they are probably going to make some bad decisions in those areas. If your kid signs up for a sport and you let them decide when they feel like going to practice or not, they’re not going to make as many practices as they should, which will impact their playing time greatly. Sometimes, I’ve heard that if we make our kids “go to church,” they will resent us and abandon the faith. You may know some examples of this, but my hunch is that these are isolated instances with lots of factors involved. 

Ultimately, I believe there is spiritual value in what we do on Wednesday and Sunday nights and I believe it gives our students the best chance to own and make an impact with their faith. I know it can be a pain to drive students and friends to Steamboat on a Wednesday, Sunday night or for a weekend event, but it’s worth it. It’s worth it for your student, for the other students that show up, for our church and ultimately for the Kingdom of God. If you have any questions or comments about this article, I’d love to chat!  

Middle School Radiate Kickoff – Wednesday, September 11th  6:30 PM in the Youth Loft

High School Radiate Kickoff – Sunday, September 15th   6:30 PM in the Youth Loft

 
 

 Blessings - Pastor Bryce

 

 
 

Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed

Last week during Children’s Church there was a little lady who did NOT want to attend. She clung to her parent and you could tell she was quite anxious about participating. 

At our Vacation Bible School there was another little girl who literally didn’t speak a single word as she traveled from station to station with her Crew Leader. 

A little boy also at Vacation Bible School did not want to participate and kept his arms crossed throughout the activities. 

The biggest impact and transformation of experiences for the above children were the volunteers who were with them. 

The girl at Children’s Church did a 180-degree change by the end of the hour. With the love and nurturing from one volunteer, she was running, laughing and having a blast. She didn’t even notice the parent was there at pick-up. 

With a little extra time and gentle care, the girl at Vacation Bible School still didn’t speak to anyone…except for her Crew Leader. They connected and created a tight bond. 

The little boy who normally doesn’t participate, participated well and with joy because he genuinely liked his Crew Leader. In fact, when she couldn’t serve on the last day, he cried because he missed her. 

Connection is important for the kids at our own church and especially to the ones we minister to in our community. 

Church, there’s no greater opportunity to connect and influence the next generation then becoming an Awana Leader. The Awana Leadership would love for you to consider taking part in the Awana Club this 2019-2020 year. We know life is busy, we know there’s a lot of good things to say yes to…

But the need for our program is great, the reward is great and the children we reach really are great. Best of all we do it for a Great God. 

We have a place for everyone’s abilities, availabilities and comfortabilities. During the month of August, you will see an Awana display with a member of the Awana team available to answer questions about the ministry and how you can help big or small. 

Thank you for considering partnering with us. We invite anyone who is available to join us in prayer for our Awana Ministry the 2nd and 4th Wednesday at 6:30 for prayer the month of August as well. 

 

God Bless - Crystal Carroll

Children's Ministry