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  • Mailing Address: 700 Johnston Street, Otley, IA 50219

 

 

Over In Otley

5 Ways to move from Good Bye Guests, to Hello New Friends

Posted by Mike Holleman on with 0 Comments

Last week, we talked about 5 ways visitors view the church. To refresh ourselves, let’s take a moment to identify them together

  1. The church is irrelevant and hypocritical.
  2. The church is not pointing to God
  3. There’s no room for questions
  4. They are not learning
  5. They are not finding community.

 

How can we combat these issues at Otley Church? Well, there is no one shot which conquers all, but we can take some steps towards being better.

 

  1. If the church is perceived as hypocritical, we need to change. As the pastor, I certainly need to combat a persona of being invincible or without sin, but as parishioners, we need to do this as well.

Think of the Facebook “selfies” people so often take on their phones, they make sure everything is perfect. If it is in your home, you likely make sure everything in the background is picked up, right? You can’t have a picture of a dirty house!

We need to be authentic. We need to be who we are and not be different people on Sunday morning than we are on Wednesday afternoon or Friday night.

We also need to cease being judgmental. As the song says, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. This also includes the “punk rockers” the “emos” “the bikers” and the people who might not look like “us.”

The reality is all of us need Christ and sometimes, putting on your “Sunday Best” may mean we are trying to hide that fact.

  1. I’ve been in all different kinds of churches some with loud bands, some with organs, and some in between. I’ve seen worship done well in both settings, I’ve also seen it done poorly. An incredible story about keeping God at the center of our lives and our services is the story of Matt Redman’s song, the “Heart of Worship.” To read the complete story, click here.

Here’s the “Cliff Notes” version. Matt was a worship leader in England. Their church had a great band, but the congregation was struggling to find meaning. The pastor at the time decides to get rid of the band, sound system and insisted they sing acapella. They were making it too much about consumerism and not enough about giving. It was one of the first songs they sang after they “gave up” the sound system for awhile. They remembered what was most important.

We too need to focus on God in worship. It is not about us, our preferences. Pastors and staff often hear complaints about worship, particularly the songs. I wish we would sing more hymns....the next week someone else says. Oh I can’t stand those old songs...and someone says, I don’t like the organ/guitar/keyboard.

Perhaps, too we make a spectacle of ourselves in worship by trying to draw more attention to ourselves. (Reality Check: if we are trying to draw any attention to ourselves, we are missing the point of Sunday Services). As leaders, we are supposed to lead people back to God...not to ourselves.

Salt is an incredible way to increase flavor, right? The correct amount and it can make certain recipes and dishes “sing.” Yet, too much, and it ruins the dish....the same can happen with our worship.

  1. So often we talk about having faith. Perhaps we think about having faith and nothing else. As Christians, we often have doubts, but we don’t voice them...why? I think this is a perception that Christians can’t doubt....because if you doubt it means you don’t have any faith.

This is a misnomer. We can believe in Jesus Christ, believe he saved us from our sins, that he died and rose again.....but it is ok to question why it was us whom he saved. It’s ok to not completely understand the Trinity...or how God is both Fully-human and fully-divine. Questions also lead to deeper understanding.

  1. Sanctification. Transcendent. Ecclesiastical. Epistemological. Do I have you bored already? Many likely are. As Christians, we often use our own different language. This happens at church too. We have all kinds of names for various groups and meetings. XYZ group is meeting in rejoice room at 2:30. Fuel is meeting at the 2d Room. Sign up at the opportunities table.

This is like insider trading. Guests who come in likely don’t know the complete code. They don’t know everything which is happening. They are at a distinct disadvantage. We need to do our best to find clarity without sacrificing the message itself. This is not only for me on the pulpit, but for us as we are in the pews as well.

  1. The last one hits home to many of us. The church is not the steeple. The church is not the cross. The church is not the organ or the sound system. The church is not the pastor. The church is the body of believers.

As believers, we need to reach out to ALL. While it is nice to see our friends and acquaintances at church and to catch up over coffee, our primary purpose should not be to socialize at church. We should be looking to welcome the downcast and the outcast. It does not take much, it is a simple invite. It is a simple question of what their name might be.

It is getting out of our comfort zones and saying, I care about you.

 

 

Which of the 5 issues do we need to work on as a church? What do you need to work on as an individual?

 

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