A few months ago, I talked about the way people welcome guests to their churches (take a look). I asked the question, “Do you want your church to come across as an exclusive social club or as a place for all to come and encounter the wonderful grace of Jesus?” Often, we think we have a warm, friendly church, when we only are warm and friendly to the people already a part of the church. One place in particular that needs a very intense look is our church’s small groups/Sunday School classes.
What I have discovered in the months of being a family without a church is that many of our Sunday School classes (or other small groups) seem significantly cold and uncaring to outsiders. On the contrary, these groups should be especially sensitive to visitors who need a place to plug in and share life in a path of discipleship. Read more
I was at a church recently and noticed a poster advertising their alternative worship service with a slogan, Come as you are. I immediately began to wonder if that meant that the other service they offered was Come as someone you aren’t. Now I know that is not the intent, and that the Come as you are slogan tries to communicate a more relaxed, casual setting. But I couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that so often our churches and our worship services communicate pretty clearly the idea, Come as someone you aren’t. Read more
Next week, I plan to dive into a series of hard hitting posts looking at the state of worship in NC Baptist churches coming off of weeks of observations. But first, I want to reflect on an element of church life that has much to do with reaching people and discipling them–the first steps of providing a welcoming environment. Read more