I had a good chuckle and a bit of a “really” feeling reading this article on Ministry Matters titled “Nine questions church visitors aren’t asking (…but churches are still trying to answer)“. The chuckle came from the gene in me that is okay in laughing at myself. The ‘really’ part came from some of the cynic nature of the article. I was hoping there would be a positive spin to the article. Well, that came in the comments.
Fortunately wcalvert rounded out the article with a great list of what Visitors Are Asking when they come to church in the comments section and I felt was worthy of its own highlighting.
It’s not so long since I was a church visitor, a Christian looking for a new chruch home. Here are nine that we *did* ask, which were not always answered. Along with an answer key.
1. Do you care that I’m here?
A friend of mine went to college far from home, and attended a certain church in that place for three academic years. After another summer away, she came back, and nobody seemed to remember that they’d ever met her.
2. What is really important to this church?
There should be something, and some understanding of God’s will should underlie each of the top several picks.
3. Will your reaction to my children be love, acceptance, toleration, or other?
4. Will your reaction to an outsider like me be love, acceptance, toleration, or other?
Right answer to both: love. But I’ve seen all four.
5. What are the people under forty-five in this congregation doing in the life of the church?
I don’t want to do everything immediately, but I also don’t want wait until somebody dies. I’ve seen churches where all young adults are caring for children (apparently, if you contribute the group of children, the group is your responsibility). I don’t really believe that all young adults in a healthy church have the same gifts. Ideally, I’ll see a broad variety of levels and types of involvement.
6. How do you get along with the other churches in town?
If you admit that the other churches are alright, but can’t name a specific example of another good church in town, it’s a warning sign.
7. What distinguishes this church from being a social club?
Social clubs can report on the health of their members, hold meetings, sing songs, hear speakers, and have programming for the members’ families. What else have you got?
8. Are you civil or loving?
People are civil to business clients (and prospects). They are loving to family.
9. How is God’s voice heard in this church?
I really don’t care (although some influence from the Bible is nice). But God’s voice must be heard.
Thanks for this list WCalvert. It is so much more helpful.