(Editor’s note: You may have looked at my reforms for the UCG but here’s Byker Bob’s ideas for reform excerpted from Gavin’s blog. Yes, I will admit my ideas a lot more theoretical, whereas Byker Bob’s ideas are more on the side of being the practical nitty-gritty. A lot of people can relate to that. Not to forget, his ideas for UCG reform are truly full of common sense. As I said on my previous post, times are a changing and at least there some in the UCG know that. We can only hope that can spread further)
Quit putting obstacles in front of people who want to attend. Advertise your address in the Yellow Pages with the other churches. When curious people show up, don’t have the gestapo give them the first degree starting in the parking lot, try instead to create an environment so that they feel welcome and actually want to come back, and maybe learn something more. Remember, Jesus and John the Baptist didn’t tell people who wanted to be baptized that they had to quit smoking, start tithing, split from second or third marriages, so in maybe six months they could qualify for baptism and the Holy Spirit. They baptized the people the same day so the the Holy Spirit could come into their lives and help them bear fruits.
Drop the dress code. Of course, the congregation should not take advantage of this, but what’s wrong with some dude showing up in Levis, a Harley shirt and Tevas? If his attitude is right, why focus on the physical (Editor’s note: Just like Bruxy Cavey’s The Meeting House. There, you MUST throw away your suit!) .
Dump the Purple Joykiller. Appoint a worship leader, and have him put together a band with contemporary instruments. Need a clue as to what constitutes inspiring praise music today? Listen to Christian radio, or tune in JCTV. There is some awesome and very inspiring music being produced these days, and the ACOGs are out of the loop on it.
Quit treating Herbert W. Armstrong as if he was equal to the priests, Kings, prophets, or apostles in the Bible. Question his models, his methods, and above all, some of the speculative and extra-Biblical doctrines that are antiquated and obviously not working. Remember, the church started by Jesus Christ is about Jesus and God, not about Herbert W. Armstrong.
Get accountable! Have a third party evaluate your finances to ensure that everything is within typical accounting guidelines for a modern religious organization, so that you can make a case for broadcasting on TBN(Editor’s note, it is time for them to embrace trinitarian thinking for them to be palatable for TRINITY Broadcasting Network). That’s where the greatest harvest is happening today! With the Messianics and the Prophecy related teachers, believe me, your message might fit in better than you could possibly imagine.
Learn to preach in love, and not with an angry, growling tone. Your message gets across much better to a broader cross section of the general public when they know that you are preaching out of love, rather than from a position of Pharisaic condemnation.
Learn how to deal with dificult personality types, and how to assist in their spiritual development without using the disfellowship tool. Reserve that tool only for sexual predators in the congregation, and other extreme cases.
Get involved with your community. Give back. Help in disaster relief, and do volunteer work. Contribute to charities. Interact, don’t cloister yourselves, that just hides your light! Armstrongism has a despicable history of being the most selfish and self-absorbed religious movement in the history of the USA (Editor’s note that is sooo true!!!).
Work hard to obliterate that perception.
Those would be my recommendations in a nutshell. I am sure others could add to the list. I must say, though, that I seriously doubt that any ACOG leader, or aspiring leader would be capable of acting in this fashion. You’d probably actually need God’s guidance to behave in such a converted and Christlike way.
Editor’s note: They make sense to me Byker Bob!