WINSTON-SALEM — Julie and Bob Clark were stunned to receive a letter from their church in July asking them to "participate in the life of the church" — or worship elsewhere.
"They basically called us freeloaders," says Julie.
"We were freeloaders," says Bob.
In a trend that may signal rough times for wallflower Christians, bellwether mega-church Faith Community of Winston-Salem has asked "non-participating members" to stop attending.
"No more Mr. Nice Church," says the executive pastor, newly hired from Cingular Wireless. "Bigger is not always better. Providing free services indefinitely to complacent Christians is not our mission."
"Freeloading" Christians were straining the church's nursery and facility resources and harming the church's ability to reach the lost, says the pastor.
"When your bottom line is saving souls, you get
impatient with people who interfere with that goal," he says.
Faith Community sent polite but firm letters to families who attend church services and "freebie events" but never volunteer, never tithe and do not belong to a small group or other ministry. The church estimates that of its 8,000 regular attendees, only half have volunteered in the past 3 years, and a third have never given to the church.
"Before now, we made people feel comfortable and welcome, and tried to coax them to give a little something in return," says a staff member. "That's changed. We're done being the community nanny."
Surprisingly, the move to dis-invite people has drawn positive response from men in the community who like the idea of an in-your-face church.
"I thought, 'A church that doesn't allow wussies — that rocks,'" says Bob Clark, who admires the church more since they told him to get lost.
He and Julie are now tithing and volunteering. "We've taken our place in church life," he says. •
via Chapel Chatter
UPDATE: it turns out that the news source of this is a parody. Too funny because it is too plausible.