What Happens When You Take a Friend to Church?

I hope you had a great Easter yesterday. We had a great day. The church service was meaningful. We didn't have any technical nightmares or anything that would distract from worship, and that's an overall win. We also got to spend Easter with my parents, which was neat. 

One of the most exciting things for me was that our neighbors came to church with us yesterday morning. They're a really cool couple, and we get along extraordinarily well. Kari and I have talked with them about spiritual things on multiple occasions, but it is still difficult to tell where they are when it comes to their faith. Kari and I have been praying for them for around a year, so it was neat to have them show up at church yesterday. 

If you haven't ever invited someone you care about to your church, you really ought to try it; especially if you are on staff at the church. As soon as someone you care about shows up, especially when that person is far from God, you gain a heightened sensitivity to everything that goes on. 

As a pastor (or regular attender), it is almost impossible to see things with the eyes of a guest. Inviting a neighbor lets you experience your church with brand new eyes. The positive things that you normally would take for granted (the clarity of the Gospel, the friendliness of the people, the clarity of instruction to guests) get contrasted with the negative things you have repressed without realizing it (awkward service transitions, bathroom cleanliness,  weird door greeters), and allows you to see things about your church in a new light. 

Because I'm a pastor, I don't get to experience this real frequently because the majority of my world is lived in the Christian bubble. There are things that I do to intentionally get out of that bubble, but by and large the bubble is a reality for me. However, I need to take advantage of that opportunity every chance I get, because it gives me a glimpse into what the people in the seats are feeling every week. After all, I encourage them to be bringing friends and neighbors on a regular basis, right? 

My experience yesterday morning has given me a fire in my belly to send off a couple of notes of encouragement to people who were friendly to my friends. It has also given me some renewed passion to shore up a couple of areas that need help. That's a good thing. 


Mark Hancock said...

I am sure you've heard stories, but the first time my mom attended the ministry I was serving at (with a strong call to the homeless) a gentleman sat down next to her and introduced himself as "Elvis, King of Rock-and-Roll".

All-in-all it was a good day because "George" (as we knew him)usually introduced himself as "Jesus Christ".

Thank God for YOUR greeters!

Grace and Peace,