to come back to your church!
This is not a theological discussion, it’s a practical one for leaders who want to think about ways to reach people for Jesus Christ. Imagine how exciting it is to discover churches actively seeking to be spiritually “in tune”, Kingdom of God-centric, and attractive to newcomers at the same time. This piece is based on several churches that each have long lists of “atta-church” credits to their collective name.
The visitors who reported these findings are many, and this digest of their comments speaks to the ways in which we can reach people who might otherwise disappear back into the non-churched masses.
A truly inviting church always manages to convey the idea that God is not just historical, but relevant to our time and culture. Our talk about God needs to include the history we’re all living through together, as in, “What do you think God wants us to do about this in the coming week?”
“Holier than thou,” is more than a well-worn phrase. In some churches it’s a creed! It can be as subtle as carrying a huge Bible (or three) to church or only talking in God-slang when you’re on church property. Strangers sometimes feel judged before they even walk in the door.
In our desire to make disciples, we sometimes make deserters out of guests who flee from our confining zealousness.
Welcoming and suffocating with good intentions are two very different things.
There’s a subtle line between being a hovering host and being the kind of host who says, “Welcome, take a look around and ask anybody anything. We’re always happy to help.”
There are lots of churches priding themselves on their great music. That’s a good thing. Surprisingly though, visitors can usually tell the difference between sincerity and raw manipulation. In the former, they are free to participate. In the latter, they usually come out with mixed feelings.
Even if you have multiple services to lead on any given day, taking time to be available is a sign of church leadership dedicated to serving people and their needs. There are even pastors in humongous churches who hang out afterwards for long, long periods of time, wunderkind Joel Osteen among them.
You may disagree, but grace is always a better starting place than judgment. The Holy Sprit doesn’t need our help or advice on how to convict the human heart.
Many folks who haven’t been to church in several years are unaware that it’s less formal than it used to be. In a church where all “responsible” attire is welcomed, people will cross that off their list of “religious don’ts” which may have kept them away previously.
Sometimes, in our attempt to keep people “engaged” in worship, we also keep squirting huge amounts of adrenaline into them. In the 80’s we used to call it “happy clappy” worship. Interestingly, one of the most engaging things we have to offer is disengagement, or the slowing of the constant stimulus our congregations and guests are subjected to in our ADD culture.
We welcome, then we welcome, then we welcome…
…then we say, “You’re welcome!”