Wednesday, March 03, 2004
"Most churches rarely attract unbelievers to their services because members are uncomfortable bringing them to church. It doesn’t matter how much the pastor encourages members to bring friends or how many visitation programs are launched, the results are the same: Most members never bring any lost friends to church.
"Why is this? There are three important reasons. First, the target of the messages is unpredictable. Members don’t know from week to week if the pastor will be preaching an evangelistic message or an edification message. Second, the services are not designed for unbelievers; so much of what goes on in them would not be understandable to an unchurched friend. Third, members may be embarrassed by the quality of the service."
- Rick Warren, Saddleback Sayings
Ministry Toolbox Newsletter 03/03/2004
Can I say that the three reasons given here are good ones, but they're a little off for what I needed answers for. Pastor and I were talking this morning about how infrequently we see or hear someone be totally excited about coming to CWO. Most of us are on board for the long haul, but there's a skiddishness about inviting others - and from what I can see it's not in one of the three reasons given above.
Taking care of Warren's first two statements, the messages are firstly fairly predictable - strong, Bible-centric, challenging. Most Sundays the emphasis will be on teaching the flock, but one Sunday a month, like this coming 03/07, is expressly evangelistic. We usually know what's coming (the second reason above), and that's the reason many of us are attending as it is.
Thirdly, I don't know that anyone's embarassed by the quality of the service, though there might be an embarassment as to just how strong and challenging the service times generally unfold. That's a different thing, almost a fear of inviting anyone for seeing how they'll react to the long worship times, the louder music, the longer preaching and the pointed message and call for repentance. While much of it "might not be understandable to an unchrched friend," I think it might be that it is understandable, and we feel that others will be turned off.
Now, my question would be: are we going somewhere that we think might scare other people away? And if that's the case, are we nuts?