I realize there are similar book titles and sayings that have been used to talk about this topic. It is vital that pastors and church leaders understand the people they are trying to reach. We are asked to go to conferences, listen to podcasts, read blogs and books to understand people. We go out into the world and meet with people who are not immediately interested in our church. With some training and persistence mixed with God’s grace we recruit some to be a part of our church. We may meet someone who is trying to answer, “The Jesus Question.” It may be someone who is going through a really hard time. It may also be a young couple who know they want their child to believe something, but they are not sure what to think yet.
Churches survey communities and pastors ask each other, and the effort that goes into understanding the people who live around you can be immense. Yet, that same church will make this one tragic mistake without even thinking about it.
The one thing can be summed up in one word, “cliché.” These are six common mistakes made by well intending church leaders trying to reach their community. There are many more than six, but here is a start. All these mistakes stem from ignoring or not respecting the very people you are trying to reach.
- Poor Schedule Communication: Sunday School is advertised on the website, but when you visit the church they canceled Sunday School that day. If they would have put it on the website I would have known.
- Cold Atmosphere: Nothing says you need what I have like, ignoring or not greeting someone new.
3. Clearly Communicating A New Person is Required to Come to You to be Involved. This is a big problem. The announcements usually look like this. Please come and see us. Fill out this card, come to this meeting. Go to this small group, come find us. We are here to help you. People do not respond to announcements, they respond to relationships. See Also Zup Do? Cool Dude Church Movement. The best people I have ever recruited to help with ministry have been people I met with one on one.
4. Language is used that isn’t defined. Christians in different parts of the country and different denominations all have different lingo. If you want to make someone feel uncomfortable tell them your doctrinal stances up front. Tell them you are a Non-Tribulation, Amillennial – Arminian Christian. What does that mean? Exactly. They also will not know what Fellowship, Atonement and Justification mean. So don’t talk about that stuff unless you are in a deep discussion and are willing to define those terms.
5. Knowledge of Denominational Church History are taken for granted. If you are part of the Church of God don’t assume that every person you see in church for the first time knows who “The Gaithers,” are. If you are Baptist, not everyone you meet in church has heard of John Piper.
6. Make Sure your Children and Youth Workers are Background Checked. People who do not know the people in your church shouldn’t be expected to trust strangers with their children. Jesus would consider that to be a foolish move to trust someone you don’t know with your children so blindly, just because a leader in a church says they are Okay. To love your community is for your children and youth people to be approved by the law to be in that position.
photocredit by Tour Norfolk
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Check out my book. Introduction to , “The New Testament Challenge.”
The New Testament Challenge takes you through The New Testament in exactly one year. This five day a week study will help you to read the Bible as if you were reading it when it was originally written.
5 days a week x 52 weeks a year = Life Change
The New Testament Challenge is endorsed by Tom Ziglar (Son of Zig). Here is what he said, “The New Testament Challenge by Aaron Mitchell is the perfect way to experience the New Testament in one year. The one page per chapter guide is perfect in helping you understand God’s truths an how to apply them to your life. One day at a time, one chapter at a time, will change your life over time.”
Available where books are sold in paperback and electronic versions.