9.12.2008

Shoot First, Ask Later

So, the question had to do with being in a new/unfamiliar church setting and focusing on what is coming next at each interval of the service/program (do I stand here, what does this mean, why do we do this, who is that big headed guy up front in the black dress, etc). For our purposes, we’ll make this a small discussion regarding church visitors.

You want your visitors to feel comfortable enough to participate in your congregation’s worship time. Perhaps, however, your church presents an experience that is radically different from what they are accustomed to. Or it may be your visitors have little or no experience in a church environment.

What, if anything, should/could we do to encourage them to use the service as a time of personal reflection and/or worship and not be preoccupied with those kinds of things? One suggestion that arose was having a time after the service to answer questions or take time to explain certain elements of a worship gathering. In other words experience now, ask when it’s over. The idea reminded me of shooting first and asking questions later. I thought that was a great idea. However, my experience has led me to believe most people are ready for lunch when the bells striketh noon (or some time there about).

Are there any thoughts are comments? How’s this for a bulletin line: During the course of our time of worship you may hear a term used that is new to you. There may also be parts of the service you find unfamiliar. It is easy for those of us who have followed the same routine for a while to forget how some of our traditions might be different from other churches and/or faith communities. Please do not be overly concerned or disappointed by those differences. Use this time to be in Christian community and worship with others. After the service, once you have had a chance to fully participate in our worship time, please contact me with your questions regarding particular elements in today’s service.

That’s got to be a big bulletin. Anyways, I was just thinking. Stay blessed…john

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