How Can We Fill our Churches?

d-martyn-lloyd-jonesNotes of  a discussion at Westminster Chapel in 1944:

The question [how can we fill our churches] was admitted for discussion, and the members of the group began making suggestions along the lines of more music, livelier music, special musical numbers, shorter sermons, sermons not so deep, more variety in the services, etc.  I was listening to all this with mounting consternation, and when, in response to the idea that the church members could help fill the galleries by inviting others to the services, someone said that such invited visitors would not return a second time if they did not enjoy the service, I was finally constrained to raise my hand and request the floor.  I do not recall my exact words, but I presented myself as one who had come among them as a stranger, had come a second time, liked everything I saw and heard, and was obviously continuing to come.  Dr L[loyd]-J[ones] smilingly thanked me for ‘the first kind words I’ve heard this evening!’   He then rose and asked the group what they would say if he told them he knew a way to ensure that every seat in the Chapel would be filled on the following Lord’s Day.  He assured them that he did, in fact, know how this could be accomplished.  ‘Tell us, tell us!’, they said, and ‘Let’s do it!’.  ‘It’s very simple’, he said.  ‘Simply put a notice in the Saturday edition of The Times that I shall appear in the pulpit the next day wearing a bathing costume!’.  This was followed, of course, by a period of shocked silence.  He then went on to expound the biblical basis for proper worship, using as counterpoint the error, just then beginning to be prevalent, of introducing various forms of entertainment into the worship service as a means of enticing people to attend.

Iain H. Murray, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Fight of Faith 1939-1981, 112.

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