A friend of mine recently posted a video to Facebook that really bothered me. Apparently Sunday, September 18 has been deemed “Back to Church” day by a group of local churches. In theory, I think what they are trying do is good but the delivery just isn’t right. I know I may receive some backlash over this, but here goes. What bothers me about some churches is they try to be something that they are not – Why advertise using a hip, cool, and contemporary style when you are a more traditional church? Why try to appeal to a younger crowd when your congregation is predominantly older? This is one of the biggest problems I had in the church where I grew up – it felt like they were trying so hard to be something that they were not, to the point where they were alienating people.
The church I currently attend has a very contemporary style of worship – they aren’t going to break out the pipe organ and cover all the windows in stain glass just to reach people that are into that. That’s not who they are as a church. The church I grew up in was a very traditional church and they attempted to do a contemporary style worship service and it went over like a lead balloon (to the point that several of the younger members left the church because it was so bad). My point is, find what it is that your church does best and embrace that! One church is not going to be the right fit for everyone. If your church is more traditional in style, become informed about a church in your area that is more contemporary – it’s okay to tell people “Hey, we’re more traditional but if you want more of a contemporary style the church down the street may be what you need.” The Church (notice the “Big C”) get so competitive when we’re all trying to achieve the same goal…reaching people for Christ.
My second problem is the video looks incredibly cheesy. I honestly would be embarrassed if my non-Christian friends saw that video. Their first response would be “Really?! You want me to come to your church based on that video?!?! No thanks – I’ll pass!” As a church we need to quit trying to do things WE THINK will reach people…we need to meet them where they live. When was the last time you asked a non-Christian friend or family member why they don’t like church or why they don’t attend? Ask, then listen to them – help them find a church that meets THEIR needs, not what YOU think they need. Again, it’s not “one size fits all” when it comes to church.
My final problem with this is why is Sunday, September 18 such a big deal? Why are we not making an effort to live daily as an example of Christ showing those around us why we are different? The way to get someone to come to church with you is to develop a relationship with them. I was talking with a friend at church on Sunday and he said that every Sunday at our church that 10% of those attending that day are guests who have never been to the church. At first, to me that didn’t sound like much, but when you figure each of our three services holds about 3000 people a week – that comes to about 900 people a week who are visiting for the first time. WOW! That is 900 people who have built a relationship with these people and genuinely care about them enough to bring them to church. When we have these “Back to Sunday” type events, people think we are treating them like a number or a “check mark” we get for doing our good Christian deed for the day. I don’t know about you, but if I was a non-Christian that be the quickest turn off from church for me. So why do we do it?!
My challenge is two-fold: 1) To the Church (again notice the “Big C”), don’t be fake and try to be something that you’re not – people can tell when you’re not being real or genuine. 2) To the church (notice the “little c”) live a daily life for Christ that would help you develop genuine relationships with non-Christians around you. Relationships where they know you care about them and don’t just see them as a “soul to save.”
Below is the video my friend posted on their Facebook. Feel free to share your thoughts in comments below.
Photo Credit: By s marcu