Forget The Name Tags

Getting the unchurched to visit a church can be hard. Getting them to come back can be harder. But a new survey conducted by the Barna Research Group might offer some helpful hints.

The survey asked over 900 unchurched adults how they like to be treated when visiting a church. Those surveyed were asked what they thought, for example, about wearing name tags or getting a phone call from the church’s pastor. The survey concluded that visitors like to be noticed, but do not want to be made objects of undue attention.

According to the survey, the two worst things a church can do are to identify visitors during the service and to have visitors wear name tags. In contrast, respondents said they liked receiving information about the church from ushers; getting a thank-you letter or a phone call from the pastor the week following the visit; and being personally greeted by individual church members following the service. The majority of respondents, however, disliked getting a house call within a week after visiting a church.

Keillor At Home In Church

Herald of Holiness magazine reports that the Lamb’s Church of the Nazarene in New York City is serving as host for “Garrison Keillor’s American Radio Company.”

Eighteen live shows will originate from the 377-seat Lamb’s Theater in Manhattan. The theater is also home for the highly regarded Lamb’s Theater Company, which develops and performs plays that explore various personal and social issues.

Keillor called the theater “intimate, beautiful, and convenient.” “Plus,” he added, “it’s owned and operated by a church—the Church of the Nazarene—which relieves some of my old fundamentalist guilt for being in show business.”

Moon The Racketeer?

A group founded by the Unification Church has turned upon its parent organization and filed a $122-million racketeering lawsuit. The Committee to Defend the United States Constitution, formed in 1985 by several conservative political figures with the backing of Unification Church funds and representatives, charges that Sun Myung Moon and the “Moon organization” have “unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity.”

The suit names 15 defendants, including the church, several Unification-owned businesses such as the Washington Times, and the legal and accounting firms that work for the organization. It charges that minutes were fabricated and funds received and spent by Unification leaders without the knowledge of the committee. The real purpose of the Committee to Defend, critics allege, was to help repair damage to Moon’s image following his 1984 imprisonment for tax evasion. Publicity materials quoted such notables as Jerry Falwell, Sen. Orrin Hatch, and Joseph Lowery of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in support of Moon.

David Finzer, a conservative political activist, was an original board member. After several years of inactivity by the committee, Finzer and two other board members filed suit against the Moon organization, seeking damages and divestment of all Moon enterprises in the U.S.

Pass The Ketchup

Christian Leaders for Responsible Television (CLeaR-TV) has ended its two-month-old boycott of Burger King. The decision came after two meetings between CLeaR-TV representatives and Burger King executives held at the corporation’s Miami headquarters. CLeaR-TV leader Donald Wildmon said Burger King officials have agreed to reduce “drastically” the sponsorship of TV shows featuring sex and violence.

The corporation has placed half-page ads in hundreds of newspapers across the nation in which it goes “on record as supporting traditional American values on television.…” Burger King spokesman Michael Evans said the company took out the ads because “we were concerned that a lot of our Christian consumers may have gotten a misperception of Burger King as a result of [CLeaR-TV].”

Briefly Noted

Announced: By the 570-member Grace Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, that it is suspending indefinitely its participation in the Southern Baptist Convention and joining the moderate Southern Baptist Alliance. SBA executive director Stan Hastey said he believes such an announcement is unprecedented.

Inaugurated: As president of Anderson (Ind.) University, James L. Edwards. He is the fourth president in the school’s 73-year history.

Resigned: As president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, Arthur Borden. He has accepted a position with the American Bible Society. ABS also recently announced the selection of Eugene B. Habecker as its new president and chief executive officer. Currently president of Huntington College, Indiana, Habecker will assume his new post in July of next year.

Presented: By Christianity Today, Inc., and the American Association of Bible Colleges, Decade of Growth Awards to the five Bible colleges that achieved the highest overall enrollment growth from 1980 to 1989: North Central Bible College (62.9%); American Baptist College (35.5%); Toccoa Falls College (31.9%); Briercrest Bible College (24.7%); and Pacific Christian College (24.5%).

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