It’s been years since my family has “looked” for a church to call home. It’s been a great experience. I say great because I’ve learned so much by not looking at things from an insiders perspective. Here are a few thoughts from the past couple of months:
1. Please don’t ever tell someone they are sitting in “your” seat. It really doesn’t send a very welcoming message. And if you hear someone else say this, please smack them in the back of the head and remind them of how horrible it sounds. And yes, this actually happened.
2. People can tell whether or not the friendliness is authentic or just a ruse because you hope a family will “place membership.”
3. Whether you have a traditional, progressive or some other type of worship that we haven’t named yet, always strive for excellence in worship. Plan it out, be intentional and have a cohesive theme that seeks to lead the worshipers closer to God.
4. A good preacher is nice – but it’s not that important. I’ve sat through sermons that left something to be desired but walked away from worship feel drawn closer to God through the experience of being with other Jesus followers. Likewise, I’ve heard a couple of dynamic sermons from very talented preachers but left worship discouraged because no one cared enough to talk to us.
5. The lyrics of the songs we sing matter, a lot. There are a few songs from “our” hymnals that need to be retired. Actually, a bunch of them probably shouldn’t have made the cut in the first place.
6. Here’s the last one. Please don’t make communion a routine, five-minute ordeal that you speed through in order to get to the sermon. No matter “how” you do communion, plan it out and be intentional about honoring the essence of the purpose and theology behind it. If we do nothing else well, nail this one.