Mark over at kainos reported on a NY Times article where Reform Judaism is trying to recruit non-attenders by publishing a more “inclusive version” of Scriptures.  Mark pegged the falicy in the approach:  “People who want to know the truth about God won’t be drawn to a congregation that doesn’t seem quite sure what is true. And it is a desperate religious group indeed that is willing to adapt its worship for disbelievers who reject the truth about God.”

In my experience, those who reject the church (or the synagogue) are either agnostic about their own non-attendance (it doesn’t bother them) or they do care and haven’t found a congregation that is authentic in what it says.  Simply including Sarah in mentions of Abraham isn’t enough for either group.

As Mark accurately reports:  “If you want to bring people back to God, tell them the truth. Do it lovingly, but tell them the truth.”  This is what Dean Kelly told us 30 years ago in Why Conservative Churches are Growing. It is the clear description of what we believe that attracts those who will be attracted.

For myself, our Messianic congregation is Conservative in leanings, but the mid-20s Israeli lady not only keeps coming back, but she brought a friend, and has become regular in an overtly Christian Bible Study.  She sees in us that we really do believe this stuff, and that we are good people, and that’s what attracts her to return.

Always remember that church health is more important than church growth, for if you have large numbers of people who don’t agree with your core message, you cannot take them with you to the next step of service.  But if you have a core group who have right belief, and you take them forward to a mature understanding of faith-inspired service, they will begin to attract the numbers that keeps the congregation viable.