A tongue-in-cheek idea to keep church the way we like it.
Because we like things the way they are and don’t want new guests to return, let’s make sure we incorporate at least a few of the following behaviors – things that seem normal to us, but might seem odd or overly strange to guests and new believers.
- Offertory: Be sure to focus on the need to cover the pastor’s salary or to maintain the building. Guests are far more concerned with the welfare of the church and pastor than they are about mission and ministry.
- Make sure guests know they should not give an offering. After all, we don’t want them to follow the lead of the Spirit.
- Communion: Focus on the bread literally being the body of Jesus and the juice literally being the blood. It’s OK to mention we aren’t sure what happens, but we know we are eating his flesh and drinking his blood. Leave out the remembrance part; that just confuses people.
- Small group prayer prior to or during the worship service. Do this as public as possible. In particular, the worship team should wait until the last moment, when everyone is waiting before they pray together. Don’t worry if this is awkward for guests—if they want to be part of us, they will get used to it.
- Spend a lot of time on intercessory prayer. Don’t worry about how long the list is – even if we are praying for more people not in attendance than are in attendance. Sure, it might give the impression that the church is sick and dying, but don’t worry about that.
- Right in the middle of worshipping God, insert “Church Life” so we can focus on us.
- Sing unfamiliar songs – regardless of their theology. We can always explain where the songwriter got it wrong, “Bless their heart.” Besides, if we heard it on the radio on a Christian station, it must be good for corporate worship.
- Play the music loud – there may be people outside wondering whether or not they want to worship with us, and if they hear the music, they are more inclined to join us. Provide ear plugs for anyone who needs them.
- Never explain anything. Let the Holy Spirit help people understand why we do what we do.
I’m sure we can add more to this list for those of us who want to keep things as they are. Not me, of course.