In one of Andy Stanley’s books (Deep and Wide), he talks about how we can go nose-blind to the ministry we’re serving in. He says, “Time in erodes awareness of.”
If you’ve spent any length of time doing anything you know this to be true.
Teachers, first responders, and medical professionals all have to keep up their certifications and knowledge in an ever-changing environment with constantly evolving information and technology. If you’re a parent – you know that your kids are growing and transforming into who they’re becoming, and their culture changes daily.
Whether it’s a profession, a position, or a passion to serve, there’s something that we all have sat far too long in without stepping back to evaluate what could be better!
When it comes to church, we should continually assess how to be irresistible in how we present church to those that are attending for the first time, and even those that have been coming their whole lives. So how do we do that?
Easy. Pick someone in your life that you want to be a Jesus follower. It’s more effective if you pick a more extreme case – someone in your family or friend group that openly speaks against going to church.
Got your person in mind?
Think about these things in regards to your church:
– What would it take to get your person to come to church?
– If you could dispel one “church myth” for them, what would it be? (This could be what’s “required” to wear to church, judgment, etc.)
– What specifically is keeping them from church? Who hurt them from their previous church experience, or how did they create an aversion to it?
– What would it take for them to stay interested in church?
There are several people in my family that I keep in mind when looking around at our church lobby on Sunday morning. One of them expects a spotless environment and top-notch service, and will definitely let you know if they are disappointed. Another calculates the accuracy of the words spoken from the stage, holding the law higher than love. Another just thinks that organized religion is a waste of time and doesn’t understand how a higher power could play a part in our lives in the first place. All understandable arguments!
So how do we get that person to come to church? Well…..you might not ever get them to attend.
I can hear what you’re saying: “Wait, you just made me think about all that to tell me that there’s no hope in getting them here?” No, no! The person you have in mind represents a larger number of your target audience. You may never see your specific person at church, but you may meet people walking in those same shoes.
So, if those people are walking in, how can we do everything in our power to make sure they keep coming back?
1. Continue showing up.
SHOW. UP. If you don’t show up, you miss half of what God is trying to do in the first place. Relationships, grace, joy, community….all of those things are experienced through proximity. Make sure that if you promise to be there, or if they expect to see your face consistently, that you continue showing up. Familiarity is a big reason of why people keep coming back.
2. Know your audience.
We know our audience because we know the people that we want to bring to church but may never attend. We know the people that have been hurt by people, the lonely ones, the quiet ones, the judged ones, or even the ones who have never given God a thought. When you meet people on Sundays, imagine what they could be going through. I guarantee it’s worth getting out of your comfort zone to serve them where they’re at.
3. Remember the mission.
Love God, love people – right? Those were the two greatest commandments that Jesus taught. Everything we do should match up to those two things. How we serve the coffee, how we sing the songs, how we set up for events – does what we did reflect how God loved us?
4. Create a capacity for the win.
The environment should also reflect the mission. If what you’re trying to accomplish is making people feel welcome and that they belong, but you’re standing behind a desk with your arms crossed – does that create the capacity for life change?
Church should be irresistible because God should be irresistible! We’re like salesmen of the gospel! There’s no gimmicks and fine print – just 100% love and freedom.
It only takes one person to change someone’s life. It can be as simple as helping them find a seat, or investing in a five-minute conversation.
Be open to how YOU can be that one.