What does your light do? RodolfoClix@pexels.com
I love listening to podcasts. Seemingly, my Protestant work ethic kicks in even when I’m walking or gardening or doing chores. Why do one thing, when I can do two?
Please, I’m not proud of it. Really. I need to stop and smell the roses. That reminds me, I can listen to a podcast, walk, take a moment to smell a rose or two along the way, and chew gum. I’m killing it with productivity. My mother would approve.
The other day, I was listening to The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast. Like most other things, I don’t buy hook-line-and-sinker everything he or his guests say but generally he introduces me to some intriguing ideas.
Here’s one: during his recent podcast, “The Death of Denominations, the Stunning Decline in Evangelism, and the Digital Revolution for Small Churches,” Nieuwhof posed,
If you drive by a church, does it
“feel…like a private club or a peculiar organization?”
He then went on to liken church buildings to places where veterans or hunting groups meet. Those buildings often appear to be more for private versus public gatherings and not “open for everyone.” They are not very welcoming.
In addition, with the continuing bad press the church gets – whether that be for divisive politics or sexual abuse scandals or the jaw-dropping mis-use of Hamilton – people outside the church
a. Don’t feel invited to the “club” and
b. They aren’t sure that even if they were invited they’d want to go.
What’s a congregation to do?
- Take stock of how your building looks. Does it look inviting? Do the weeds block the reader board? Does your signage say anything appealing? Does it look like there might be some signs of life in the building?
- Encourage people to invite others to church. How are people (especially those who have never been to a church) supposed to know that they are welcome if no one invites them? People will usually attend if someone asks them.
- Determine the purpose of your worship. Is it to inspire? To disciple? To move people beyond the church walls to be the hands and feet of Jesus? Is the “club” open to everyone? How so?
- Don’t hide your light under bushel. So many of you are doing great things in the community. You are making a difference. It’s downright inspiring. Get the word out by inviting people in.
I wish the general public’s opinion of the church was better, I really do. Use it as an opportunity to let people know that your “peculiar organization” has value and is a welcome sanctuary for all.
Let the world know that good things are afoot and that God’s love is available to everyone.