Conference Launches ''

I used to love horseradish, but hated the heartburn, so I quit. I got a $200 ticket for speeding, so I quit. You know what I mean by quitting: We have quit diets, schools, teams, pastors, doctors, spouses, and many times have regretted we quit. Some have said to me quietly, "I quit too soon."

But what about quitting church? After pastoring for 20 years, I've seen a lot of people quit. When I arrived in a new district I was told there was another group of people as large as the church membership in that city that had quit coming. That church had 500 people on its membership. I wondered if any of them thought, "I quit too soon."

In the Upper Columbia Conference there are 12 population centers, with Spokane, Wash., being the largest. We have prayed, seeking ways to reach those who have quit church. As a result, a group of people decided to wrap a city bus in royal blue with the words, "Did You Used to Go to Church?" (The idea came from It Is Written and the Oregon Conference.)

Then on the bus we would post our Web site: The Web site has a survey gently seeking information about why they quit church. When they complete the survey we respond to them in 24 hours. We want to meet them and thank them for filling it out and present them with two tickets to the Garland Theatre in downtown Spokane to see the movie; Lord, Save Us From Your Followers. We will have the wrapped city bus parked in front of the theatre and the local news stations alerted and hopefully attending.

Following the movie we will have a discussion led by our ministerial director and a local church pastor. Our intention is simply to ask the people to forgive us. We want to convey our heartfelt sorrow to them for having to make the decision to quit attending church. We want to say, "We are sorry."

Quitting church is a serious decision. Maybe, just maybe it contains eternal consequences. Don't they deserve an invite to come back and don't we need to correct whatever it may be that caused people who once walked with us to say, "I quit"?

The bus was launched on October 9. The first showing of the movie will be in November. Please pray for this venture.

November 01, 2008 / Upper Columbia Conference