16 January, 2008

Church Adds "i" in Front of Everything, Attendance Skyrockets

Northfolk, Indiana - "Welcome to iChurch," so the greeting goes on a typical Sunday morning for the worshipers of iBaptist in Northfolk. Sitting amongst the congregation it is hard to imagine that just 7 months ago this now thriving congregation was on the brink of closing her doors. But out of a deacon's meeting back in June of 2007 came a revitalization campaign that in less than a year has turned the church into one of the fastest growing churches in the state of Indiana.  

The concept of "iChurch" was proposed by 35 year-old pastor Steve Works.  During the meeting Works spoke to his fellow deacons about the need for change.
"The meeting was getting tense" said Works.  "We had been discussing for a long time how we could revive the church.  Attendance had been dropping for over ten years, and if the trend continued we were going to have to close our doors before long.  So I spoke up in the meeting and said 'Brother's, church has become complicated.  We're not very user friendly anymore. We have so many complicated committees, programs, so many decorations all around the church, etc.  It's high time we got back to the basics.'"

The Deacons listened intently as Works shared his vision for the congregation.
"Walk through our town and what do you see?" asked Works.  "You see a vista of Church spires, large beautiful buildings, and ours in among them, but things are so complicated in those churches.  Congregations are breaking down and freezing up in their callings.  Sometimes people aren't compatible, and  ministerial staffs are having to spend countless hours trying to resolve problems.  We need a program here that works, somethings that's simple and clean."

Works continued to speak for over an hour, and at the end of the meeting the deacons unanimously voted to adopt Works' plan of action.  Over the course of a month, changes were made throughout the church.  The congregation voted to rename itself simply "iBaptist."  Next they removed their steeple and painted the entire church, both inside and out in basic black, white, grey and light blue colors.  Pews were replaced with sleek rounded metal chairs.  A simple white podium replaced the pulpit.  The stain glass windows were replaced with plain clear glass, and any and all pictures and images were removed from the iSanctuary.  

"The change to our name and our physical facilities alone brought a sudden sharp increase in our attendance" said Works.  "Two months after we implemented the iChurch program we had almost 75 new people attending."

But the changes did not stop there.  The church eliminated all committees, and replaced them with iGroups.  The Sunday School Program was renamed iSunday, and was restructured into three basic programs, iShufflers for children 1 and younger, iNanos for children between the ages of 2 and 16, and iClassics, divided into two sub-groups of 16 - 40 and 60 - 120.  

Next, the worship service was revamped completely.  On a typical Sunday morning now the iChoir will sing an iAnthem and the congregation will sing 3-4 iHymns.  Pastor Works prays iPrayers and preaches an iSermon during which he wows the congregation by using a large HD display screen installed behind him to 'introduce new and exciting truths.'

"We just love it" said new member Barry Clemens.  "Things are so simple and user friendly.  There are less distractions, and things are clean and stable."

"The program has worked" said Works.  "In just seven months iBaptist has grown from 54 people to almost 700 on a typical Sunday.  We are also excited because in just a few months we're going to upgrade our iWorship to a new level we call 'Lion and Lamb.'  It's going to make the whole worship experience even more powerful and easier to use."


Hannah Schaefer said...

Hmmm. My guess is the iSermons are all downloadable to iPods from special kiosks locaded throught the iChurch. They probably have podcasts, too. Wow, sounds a lttle too close to reality!

Joe Blackmon said...

Which version of the Bible do they use? I mean, I know it's an iBible but is it the iBible version 1611.1? I mean, if it was good enough for the apostle Paul to download, it should be good enough for them.


Anonymous said...

I know a church where this didn't work, but I think it's because they tried to implement iTULIP as well. Everyone hated that system no matter how they presented it.

Anonymous said...

Next day: Apple sues for eleventy million dollars and wins, but their sales drop by double that because of the bad press they get from suing a church.

Jim Pemberton said...

I think "iWorship" says it all. This is what iPeople do. Except that iWorship shouldn't be downloadable to iPeople from iChurch. It should be uploadable from HisPeople to TrueGod.