Monday, July 14, 2008

What brought you back?

One of the questions I ask the participants in our Discovering Nags Head Church class is, "After you came the first time, what made you come back?"

Here are the responses from yesterday. Many were repeated by others, but they're typical of what is shared in each class.
  • The music!
  • I go home remembering what was taught
  • It's the coffee that brought my husband back.
  • In my church back home I always fell asleep during church. Not here! [Maybe it's the coffee?]
  • I was made to feel welcome.
  • The teaching gives real life applications.
  • The Bible is taught as God's Word.
  • The check in for the kids made me feel that they were being cared for.

Now, my guess is that if we polled those who came once and never returned (or maybe walked out) their answers would be: [Think Ed and Edith are searching again for a church...]

  • The music!
  • It didn't "feel like church"/wasn't what I was used to.
  • I like church to be quiet.
  • The pastor wore flip flops and sat on a stool. How irreverent is that?
  • The service went for an hour and fifteen minutes. That's just too long.
  • The people next to me raised their hands while they sang. I was horrified. Were they going to start dancing next? [No, but we might pull out some snakes next week!]

It's interesting when people reveal their expectations for a church or worship gathering. It's also interesting when people are surprised by what they find. To be honest, Ed and Edith are not our target. They think they've already got the God thing all figured out, and to them, we're out in left field somewhere. And that's OK. They'll find their niche somewhere else and bless that church.

Our goal is to attract, reach and maintain an opportunity to impact those who have no clue about God or spiritual things, but just know He is the missing ingredient in their lives. They don't know what to expect, and as a result are bowled over by the welcome and security and relevance they sense by what we do. And they're even surprised that they're getting answers to the questions in their lives from the Bible of all places.


Lesley said...

I clicked over to your site from Nate's!!

The flip flop comment make me giggle! It's silly to me that people would judge a church based on what the pastor is wearing.

We go to an incredible church, Healing Place Church, here in South Louisiana. Our lead pastor, Dino Rizzo, is the most amazingly gifted pastor I have ever heard preach. A friend of ours says that she could never go to HPC because there is no way she could ever take seriously a pastor who wears jeans, tennis shoes and leaves his shirt untucked.

I was like, are you kidding me????????? It's not what the preacher wears that matter, it's the message and the way in which he delivers it.

Preach on Mr.Flip Flop Wearing Pastor!! You are touching lives through The Word of our Lord every day!!

TerryKM said...

When I was in college we used to lead worship for Campus Crusade for Christ barefoot. Some referred to us as the barefoot band. After a while I stopped doing that (got my toe caught in the bass kick pedal; really painful).

Good post by the way.

Apple said...

I was thinking during the service this Sunday that I really appreciate the way that you make Jesus "real." The way you described how he might have spoken to Peter with a grin on his face and a shake of the head. It makes Him seem so much more approachable, attainable, personal...real.

I appreciate that he is my God but I also appreciate the fact that he was make the human and the God more personal.

MelB. said...

I will be visiting your church in 2 weeks and I am feeling like it will be just like my church. Looking forward to it! (My mom calls my church the "flip flop" church. I am not kidding you :)

Andy Lawrenson said...

"It's all about the flip flop.
It's all about the hip hop.
It's all about the plastic in between your toes."
- Paul Wright, singer, songwriter, musician (wears flip flops)

From the platform playing music I sometimes can spot Ed and Edith and the look on their faces is the dead giveaway. Sometimes it's the tie, but not always.

I'm looking forward to the revamped Children check-in process. That will bump security up about two more notches. It's amazing how many churches do nothing for the security and safety of the children. We go on vacation this weekend so we shall see what a "big" church has got going on. Hopefully I can worship without being in "evaluation mode".

debka_notion said...

An hour and 15 minutes is long? If people complain about that- well, you could tell then that that's about half of the shortest that a traditional Jewish Shabbat morning service goes (sometimes they're more like 3 hours)- not to mention coming back in the late afternoon and evening, potentially.