Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail
We’ve all had opinions and reactions in public that never made it from our brains to our mouths. Not all of these were positive, and perhaps that’s why they were never spoken.
Have you ever wondered what visitors who come into our home congregation are thinking? What do they make of the worship service? How do they see the people who fill the building?
I’d like to dedicate this post to the young people I’ve had the opportunity to talk with and who have privately expressed their first impressions of the Lord’s church. These honest thoughts did not come from people who were trying to be disrespectful.
Here’s a list of TEN thoughts (some rephrased) that most visitors won’t openly say.
- “I guess I came underdressed for this church.”
- “Why do you stand for some songs and not the others?”
- “Why are the communion plates gold?”
- “I didn’t understand the purpose of the invitation.”
- “Nobody smiled much until after the service.”
- “I’ve got too much baggage for you guys.”
- “I didn’t even know this church was here.”
- “How much money was I supposed to put inside the plate?”
- “It’s a nice congregation, but there’s not a lot of people my age.”
- “Sorry for bringing my drink into the sanctuary.”
While these comments and questions may seem negative, I’m thankful that they’ve given us their perspective. As His church, we should be thoughtful about who we are, and what we’re engaged in when we come together.
We’re either involved in offering our Father praise and worship, or we’re enjoying the sweet fellowship that we have in Christ. God is our life, God is the One who gives every blessing, and God is the one who saved us from ourselves. With this in mind—
Here’s a list of FIVE things we can do to let visitors know what we’re all about.
- We should carry ourselves with an attitude that expresses our joy and thankfulness. They may not understand everything about the service or the practical aspects of our traditions, but they see a group of people who have been given the greatest gift ever given.
- Let’s not place too much emphasis on the location of worship, but the worship itself. There’s nothing holy about the “sanctuary” but there should be something holy about the acts being done and the people in the pews.
- Even though we may have been to worship countless times, we shouldn’t assume that everyone completely understands what’s going on. There should be an effort put into briefly explaining why we’re participating in each act of worship, as well as who it applies to. For example, visitors are not required to give. We shouldn’t assume they already know this.
- We’re all in need of Christ’s forgiveness, mercy, and grace. God is the God of second chances…and beyond! Do the visitors know this? We’ve all got varying amounts of baggage, but even a small pocketbook full of sin is enough to eternally condemn us.
- No matter how odd things may appear to a first time visitor, if we can show them the love of Christ, what was once strange to them— just might become beautifully familiar.