This month I want to spend a bit of time sharing my thoughts to the church. As a young(ish) clergy person I have some ideas after observing the state of the church over the last 10 years. Frankly, to be honest, if I wasn’t clergy, I’m not sure I’d be going to church.
So I’m nearing the end of a few weeks exploring 6 thoughts, or suggestions, I have for the church. This isn’t targeting any one particular denomination or congregation since many of us are struggling in similar ways.
Open the Doors… And See Who Comes In
Sometimes people are interested in church. Sometimes they wonder what it is that is so important that we’ll get up early on a Sunday morning, get dressed and head to an old building in town.
These people may be at a point in their life that maybe they are almost ready to risk entering the building themselves.
I use the term ‘risk’ here because for many it is a risk. If they didn’t grow up in the church then they probably feel like an alien walking into Area 51. They don’t know the language or the customs like when to stand or when to sit down. They don’t know what to do when praying. They don’t know how to sing the songs. They can feel completely lost. How would you feel if you went to another country and found there were no signs anywhere telling you where you are or where you might be going?
If you want to know how welcoming and accessible your church is, sit next to someone completely new to your church. See how they struggle with different parts of the service. See how comfortable they feel when they are singing the songs and saying the prayers.
But even better, help them in these spots. And then take what you have learned back to your pastor and the leaders of your church and tell them what you’ve found and work together to make it easier for people to be integrated into the worship experience.
Because if you are starting to do some of the things that I have been mentioning, then there will be people thinking about coming to check out your church some Sunday morning. People who will be very hesitant and worried they might “do something wrong” and make fools of themselves. Of course we know they can’t, but that’s how they might feel.
So make your doors open and inviting. Make your worship experience friendly for new people, maybe even assign some hospitable people to sit with or near new folks to help them find their way through the service. Help them know where the Sunday School or nursery is and other pertinent information about the building.
Open the doors. You never know who might come in!
One more post on this series to come… who do you know?