為什麼弟兄姐妹不邀請人到教會?(翻譯文章)(Why Church Members Don’t Invite Others to Church-Chuck Lawless)

幾年以前,有多個研究表示,很大比例沒有去教會的人,他們表示只要有人邀請,他們就會考慮去教會。這個問題不是出於不去教會的人身上,相反這常常是教會的人沒有好好去邀請別人參加教會。我教會同工去問那些教會的會眾為何會冷淡邀請人來教會,這裡是十個常常會聽到的回應(次序不分先後):

1. 「我根本沒有在意」-許多教會會眾與沒有去教會的朋友每週保持聯絡,儘管不是每天聯絡。他們跟他們一起上課、工作、與他們一起生活,甚至有時候跟他們住在一起。許多教會的朋友沒有做的是,把沒有去教會的人視為「羊沒有牧人」(太9:36),是一個屬靈的被造物而需要救贖和教會生活。
2. 「我害怕被拒絕」-沒有人喜歡被拒絕,特別是硬著頭皮去邀請人去教會。因此不邀請人去就可以避免這樣的可能性(有趣地,弟兄姐妹可以告訴我們多少次其他人說「不」,但是很少人告訴我們他們有多少次是被粗魯地或不友善地被拒絕)。
3.「音樂不夠好」-有些人會說崇拜的辯論已經結束,但是看起來卻仍然延續著。我們的同工不斷地聽到一些微言,好像「太吵了」、「太悶了」、「我們唱了重複又重複」,還有「沒有人明白這些歌」。弟兄姐妹如果不享受這些音樂很明顯的就不會邀請其他人參加。
4. 「講道太硬了」-這個反應看起來是讓人最痛苦去承認。弟兄姐妹如果愛他們的牧者,都不願意傷害他們,但是他們卻會對其他負責的同工誠實的表達。當講台弱的時候,對沒有參加教會的人的邀請就會減弱。
5. 「我們現在有太多教會的問題」-弟兄姐妹不明白教會都有問題,他們常常認為當有些東西「不對勁」,他們看到參與度減低,或者聽到一些內部衝突,就簡單的想,他們不想把他們的朋友帶到衝突的地方。
6. 「我們的教會太多人了」-這是美國人特有的問題,因為美國人保護我們的個人空間。我們不喜歡擁擠,就算是在教會。不但如此,我們在進入擁擠的教會以前,我們並不希望要尋找停車位。為了避免擁擠就是停止邀請任何人。
7. 「沒有人曾經催逼我去邀請別人」-這個問題跟本文的第一點有關係。有些弟兄姐妹從來都不邀請人是因為沒有人脆促他們要去這樣做,當知道許多沒有參加教會的人其實很樂意應邀去教會,這個想法就更為可悲。
8. 「我不知道如何開始」-邀請人去教會看來很容易,但對於許多弟兄姐妹來說並不是如此。在一個幾乎禁止談論宗教和政治的文化,即使是資深的基督徒對如何邀請人也有難言之隱。
9. 「這是聖靈的工作,不是我來邀請人去教會」-公平來說,我們最初從教會聽到這樣的回應,是為了要避免「人本」的方式去傳福音,他們是要警覺注意他們在傳福音的角色,包括是純粹邀請其他人去教會。
10. 「要人來這裡太遠了」-在這個流動的社會中,有時候會把教會的聽眾擴展到離我們住家很遠的地方。但是我們的同工發現,那些從很遠的地方開車的會眾,他們會變得不願意邀請其他人也開相同的距離。

你還有其他的理由加到這個表嗎?你曾經用過什麼辦法解決這些回應呢?

翻譯:李政斌

英文原文:

everal years ago, more than one study showed large percentages of unchurched would consider attending a church if someone simply invited them. The problem is not the attitude of the unchurched; rather, it is often the failure of church members to invite others. When my church consulting teams have asked church members about their reticence to invite others to church, here are ten responses we have often heard (listed in no particular order):

  1. “I just don’t think about it.” – Many church members have contact with the unchurched every week, if not every day. They go to school with them, work with them, live beside them – and sometimes live with them. What church folks don’t do, though, is see the unchurched as “sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36), as spiritual beings in need of redemption and a church family.
  2. “I’m afraid I’ll be rejected.” – Nobody likes to be turned down, especially after taking the risk to invite somebody to church. It’s just easier to avoid that possibility by not inviting anyone at all (interestingly, church members could tell us times when others said “no,” but few could tell us of times when they were rudely or unkindly rejected).
  3. “The music isn’t that good.” – Some may argue the worship wars are over, but the battles seem to be ongoing. Our teams continue to hear refrains like, “it’s too loud,” “it’s too boring,”  “we sing it over and over again,” and “nobody knows the songs.” Church members who themselves don’t enjoy the music don’t readily invite others to join them.
  4. “The preaching isn’t strong.” – This response was seemingly the most painful one to admit. Church members who love their pastors do not want to hurt them, but they spoke honestly to our consulting teams. When the preaching is poor, invitations to the unchurched decrease.
  5. “We’ve got too many church problems right now.” – Church members don’t always know all the issues facing a congregation, but they frequently recognize when something “just isn’t right.” They see the attendance decreasing, or they hear of internal conflict. Simply stated, they do not invite their friends onto a battleground.
  6. “Our church is already too crowded.” – This issue is particularly an American one, as Americans protect our personal space. We don’t like being cramped, even in church. Moreover, we don’t want to have to search for a parking space before entering that already crowded building. One way to avoid more crowding is to stop inviting anyone.
  7. “Nobody ever challenged me to invite anyone.” – This reason is related to the first one on this list. Some church members never think about inviting others because no one has challenged them to do so. This response is especially tragic if many unchurched would respond affirmatively to an invitation.
  8. “I don’t know how to start the conversation.” – Simply inviting somebody to church would seem easy, but that’s not the case for many church members. In a culture where discussing religion or politics is almost forbidden, even long-term Christians struggle with initiating an invitation to church.
  9. “It’s the Spirit’s job—not mine—to bring people to church.” – To be fair, we have heard this response primarily from congregations seeking to avoid any “man-centered” approach to evangelism. In their zeal to keep their focus on God, they walk cautiously when considering their role in evangelism – including simply inviting others to church.
  10. “It’s too far for people to come.” – We live in a mobile culture that promotes church attendance sometimes quite far from where we live. Our teams have learned, however, that church members who drive a long distance are less willing to invite others to drive that same distance.

What reasons would you add to this list? What steps have you taken to address these responses?

原文出處:http://thomrainer.com/2014/07/15/church-members-dont-invite-others-church/

Advertisements

佔領中環與基督徒政治觀

622的公投,象徵爭取普選進入另一個階段,同時也讓香港人更切身體會這場運動的來臨。近日國務院發表的白皮書,國家級的網絡攻擊港台傳媒,更引發廣泛的恐慌和熱議。引發弟兄姐妹對於參加政治運動的疑問。到底基督徒應否參加「佔中」這場政治運動?應該投票給哪一個方案?也有許多弟兄姐妹選擇忽略,甚至反對這一類政治運動。那麼到底基督徒應該怎樣看這一類政治問題呢?

教會的設立並非為政治而設,而是為了神的國度而設立。基督徒在教會當中,是要按著祂的話語來認識祂、以祂為喜樂的來源、敬拜祂、為祂傳福音和按祂的話語來治理祂的教會。但追求神的國,並不等於可以對不公義,不合理的事情保持緘默,或消極逃避。否則其他人就無法認識神的道是人類的盼望。而且第九誡「不可作假見證」背後的精神,是要所有人做一個公義的人,當有人明顯違犯公義的時候,所有人都有責任發聲的,這也是一個法治社會的基礎。聖經沒有主張固定的政治制度,聖經只要求基督徒需要尊重國家的法律(羅13:1-7),因為政府的權力是從神而來。另外基督徒也要為政府禱告,關注政府如何運用它管治的權力(提前2:1-4)。但無論新舊約聖經都提到國家的權力是從上帝而來(撒上8:4-9,13:1-7),因此基督徒並非是消極應對政治的問題。基督徒對國家的管制和法治是責無旁貸的,務必要為公義發聲(箴31:8-9)。

當然許多政治或社會的事務問題非常複雜,一般弟兄姐妹未必能明白來龍去脈,教會也難以為這些問題提供詳細答案。但教會在追尋神的國度的時候,同時教導弟兄姐妹公義公平的觀念、對人生命、尊嚴和財產的保護和尊重和對弱小社群的關懷。這些觀念都形成弟兄姐妹在社會生活上的背後精神,這是見證神的真正表現,而不單單只是一個態度比較溫和的人而已。許多熱心的弟兄姐妹對社會事務表現積極,這是值得我們欣賞的表現。但是可惜的是,他們僅僅只能在熱心參與上與信仰有關連,表達的卻非聖經的觀點,反映教會對弟兄姐妹參與政治的教導尚待加強。因此基督徒在參與社會事務的時候,我們是按著聖經給我們的亮光,而不是跟隨世俗的人文主義的理論。對人的生命、財產和尊嚴,國家的管治和法治,我們應該相信聖經有更美好的教導。

部分弟兄姐妹消極反對別人參與政治或社會的事務上,反對民主和法治制度,表面上愛好和平,保持中立。但他們的看法卻沒有有任何聖經根據,而且明顯並未掌握事實。在這次運動中可以看到,這種態度背後是受到世俗的思想所影響,他們用陰謀論來猜測佔中的背後動機、用大中華主義來否定一國兩制和法治、並用極端和平主義來否定一切追求公義的行動。弟兄姐妹可能並不了解聖經的公義觀念正被這些思想所壓制。最明顯在於忽略基本法被多次扭曲和修改,司法獨立正被威脅仍無動於衷,政府不按基本法的規定的義務推動普選,政府甚至無視違法的網絡攻擊。而這些正正是公義被侵害,需要基督徒奮力改變的時刻。

聖經雖然沒有主張任何政治制度,但人類的文明發展到今天,民主卻是人類試驗過,相比獨裁或寡頭統治的政權,暫時比較能合理彰顯公義和公平的制度,也是比較可以表達聖經的價值觀的制度。民主不是萬能,更不是完美的制度。但是民主再壞,也比獨裁更好。前英國首相邱吉爾(Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill)說過:「民主是最壞的政府形式——除了其他所有不斷地被試驗過的政府形式之外。」(…it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.)。因此基督徒在支持民主和法治的時候,我們的最終目標不是追求這些制度,而是要保守一個保守公義的制度,讓聖經的價值觀可以彰顯對人生命、財產和尊嚴的重視。

落實基本法的承諾,在香港實行普選,是整個運動的核心。這是為了追求比較完整的政制,讓香港的管治可以比較順利。但無奈面對中國政府一再食言,不願意履行基本法的責任,無視香港的管治困局,甚至扭曲一國兩制和基本法的解釋。香港人使用更為進取的態度與中國政府溝通,是完全無可奈何的事情。

基督徒在這一場政治運動的責任,就如同舊約的先知們,他們按神的吩咐指引君王;也按神的吩咐來責備犯罪的王。基督徒要用追求公義,敦促一個國家要遵守承諾,堅持落實基本法的民主承諾,是國家的義務。這樣基督徒才能為香港人帶來更貼近聖經價值的社會,讓神的國可以彰顯在這個城市上。

------

1.  韋敏斯德大要理問答144:「答:(一)保守並增進人與人之間的誠實,以及別人和我們自身的名譽; (二)為真理站出來;在審判和公義之事上,以及在其他各種事情上,實話實說,只講真理,發自內心,忠心誠實,不計代價,不加隱瞞,不偏左右;(三)以愛心尊重別人;愛護他們的名譽,願意他們有好名聲,並且為此歡喜;為他們的軟弱難過,並加以遮掩;承認他們的恩賜和恩典,為他們的無辜辯護;關於他們的好名聲,願意接受;關於他們的壞名聲,不隨意苟同;(四)不鼓勵傳舌者、奉承者、毀謗者;珍惜自己的名譽,並在需要的時候予以辯護; (五)遵守合法的誓言;凡是真實的、誠實的、可愛的、有美名的,都要考察、遵行。」(http://quizlet.com/5178694/121-15156-flash-cards/)

2.  “A Dictionary of Quotations” ,NUMBER 417, 1989, (http://www.bartleby.com/73/417.html)

七種傷害你的牧者的方法(Seven Ways to Hurt Your Pastor)-Thom Rainer(翻譯文章)

如果你真的想傷害你的牧者,那這個貼文大概是你想要的。

光過去的一個星期,我就與數十位牧者傾談過。他們都很委身他們的呼召。

但是他們都是有血有肉的人,是可以受傷害的。

這些跟我談話的牧者分享了七個很普遍傷害他們的經驗。因此,如果你真的要傷害你的牧者,就要小心跟隨這些指引了!

1. 批評牧者的家庭。批評牧者們的家庭是其中幾樣最傷害他們的東西,尤其是如果那些批評的事情是發生在教會。

2. 告訴牧者他的薪水太高了。有少數牧者確實能賺很多錢。但是卻有許多教會的弟兄姐妹,卻想讓牧者為了他們能得到薪水而難過。

3. 不為牧師辯護。批評可以是很傷害的,但更能傷害他們的,是當他們的牧者被謠言攻擊的時候,他們仍保持緘默,因此緘默在這中情況下並非是可取的。

4. 告訴你的牧者他的工作是多麼輕鬆。當有人胡謅牧者的工作其實一週只需工作十小時,這確實是刺到心坎裡的。有些人竟然真的相信牧者一個星期會有幾天假期。

5. 成為嘮叨的閒人。牧者們可以承受間中的批評,可是真正痛苦的是,與永遠都是負面的教會會友打交道。怎樣知道你在這方面已經很成功?就是當牧者看到你的時候就想辦法閃人。

6。 評論牧者的支出。我上週從一個牧者聽到這段話,有一個教會會友問:「為什麼你有錢去迪斯尼樂園?」哇!

7. 矮化並將你的牧者的講道和事工與另外一個牧者相比。很多時候那個會友是要讓你知道,他或她在網上喜歡的講員跟你相比是如何。如果你要傷害你的牧者,你要保證他知道他是多麼不濟!

如果你人生的目標是要傷害你的牧者,光這裡一個或數個方法就會成功。

但是如果你與其他好的教會會友一樣,事事為你的牧師著想,那麼你就要做與這七個原則相反的事情。

如果你擔心你的牧者不會保持謙卑,需要有人盯住他,不要擔心,在教會總有許多這樣的教會會友在身旁。

清楚這七個原則了嗎?那你還要增加一些嗎?

翻譯:李政斌

英文原文:

If you really want to hurt your pastor, then this blogpost is for you.

This past week alone, I had conversations with dozens of pastors. These pastors love their churches and the members. They are really committed to their callings.

But they are real people who can really be hurt.

The pastors I spoke with this past week shared with me seven common themes of the things that hurt them the most. So, if you really want to hurt your pastor, follow these guidelines carefully.

  1. Criticize the pastor’s family. Few things are as painful to pastors as criticizing their families, especially if the criticisms are related to issues in the church.
  2. Tell the pastor he is overpaid. Very few pastors really make much money. But there are a number of church members who would like to make the pastor feel badly about his pay.
  3. Don’t defend the pastor. Critics can be hurtful. But even more hurtful are those who remain silent while their pastor is verbally attacked. Silence is not golden in this case.
  4. Tell your pastor what an easy job he has. It can really sting when someone suggests that the pastor really only works about ten hours a week. Some actually believe that pastors have several days a week off.
  5. Be a constant naysayer. Pastors can usually handle the occasional critic. But the truly painful relationships are with church members who are constantly negative. How do you know you’ve succeeded in this regard? The pastor runs the other way when he sees you.
  6. Make comments about the pastor’s expenditures. I heard it from a pastor this past week. A church member asked, “How can you afford to go to Disney World?” Wow.
  7. Compare your pastor’s preaching and ministry unfavorably to that of another pastor. Many times the member wants you to know how much he or she likes that pastor on the podcast compared to you. If you really want to hurt your pastor, you can make certain he knows how inferior he is.

So, if your life’s goal is to hurt your pastor, one or more of these approaches will work just fine.

But, if you are like most good church members, you want the best for your pastor. So just do the opposite of these seven.

And if you are worried that your pastor will not remain humble unless someone puts him in his place, don’t worry. There will always be plenty of those other church members around.

Do you identify with these seven items? What would you add?

原文出處:http://thomrainer.com/2014/06/16/seven-ways-hurt-pastor/

本網誌旨在翻譯優良的英文的基督教文章,讓不諳英文的讀者也可以得著屬靈的餵養