We love being able to throw a question out to the MTDB community and this one comes from Chris Hansen from First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln Nebraska.
I have been discussing with my leadership team about increasing the amount of relational ministry we do with students. Specifically we have been talking about increasing our time spent taking students for meals and coffee. One on one time is powerful and there is something so incredible about breaking bread with them over a meal. The problem is that we don’t necessarily have the funds available to cover these costs.
So have have you been able to find alternative sources of funding for hospitality besides the Church putting in your budget?
I was reading an article in Group Magazine about magnetic ministry. The article pointed me to a video on YouTube entitled “What if Starbucks marketed like the church?” After watching this silly, but accurate, portrayal of the church, I once again pondered the way the church looks to those on the outside looking in. From the early days of my ministry, I have constantly made an intentional effort to evaluate my methods based on the perspective of the outsider. I’m not an advocate of making sure everyone feels comfortable all the time, because the gospel is uncomfortable to unbelievers. My goal, however, is to remove all obstacles before coming to Jesus. Unfortunately many people reject the church out of hand long before they make a decision for or against Christ.
Many church leaders bristle at the words “seeker-friendly church”. When they hear those words they think of “rock-n-worship”, tattooed youth pastors, and senior pastors teaching in shorts and sandals. Though that is an apt description of some of my most remembered worship experiences, that is not the point I am trying to make. The ambition is not to be “seeker friendly” or to adopt a certain style within the church, but to remove anything that stands in the way of pointing people to Christ.
When was the last time you visited a church for the first time? Visiting a church can be a very intimidating experience. Though it is impossible to eliminate that aspect of church it should be the aspiration of every church to alleviate the awkwardness as much as possible. How can we do that? Here are a few suggestions for worship meetings that are most likely attended by first timers. For most churches this is the Sunday morning service.
Speak modern english, even while praying. God can understand you even if you don’t sound like Shakespeare!
Dress casually. If the point of the meeting is to worship freely 6 inch heels and 3 piece suits may not be the best choice.
Have all song lyrics and bible passages readily available on handouts or on the projection screen.
Eliminate traditions that aren’t easily understood.
Explain the why behind even the most routine things. I once had a couple ask me what was going on during communion. What seems routine to some is brand new to others.
Give them what they came for. No one comes to church for the first time on a whim. They need the love of Christ in their life. Show them the way!