Why should they come?
Have you asked yourself that question? Why should someone who is outside of our churches come to one? What are we doing there that should motivate them to join us? I’m not saying that what we do when we gather is not valuable, because it is incredibly valuable. But what are we doing that would actually motivate a non-church person to get out of bed on a lazy Sunday morning, take a shower, brush their teeth, get their kids dressed, and pile into the family SUV to head to a church service?
Is it our 30-45 minute talks? The 3-5 songs that we sing out loud together? Our asking for money? Bowing our heads to talk to God? I personally look forward to all of these things, but does a non-church person?
These are questions churches have to be asking about our methods and models if we are thinking deeply about mission among the unchurched .
Some Will Come
To be fair, there is a segment of the population, especially in Ellis County, TX, that will come to a church gathering of some sort. Some might respond to an ad (a mailer, facebook ad, etc.), some will search it out themselves, and even more are at least open to an invitation from someone they trust and consider a friend.
Because of this reality, I do think we ought to work as hard as we can with the resources we have to faithfully put our best foot forward when guests come to our “house.” We should put time, energy, thought, and prayer into music, teaching, praying, setup, welcoming, and the other elements of a gathering, so that those who do visit us will have a chance to experience genuine community and kindness, engage with good music (whatever that looks like for them), and understand and relate to gospel-centered teaching.
What I’m talking about here has nothing to do with the quality or makeup of our gatherings.
It’s Not About Quality
I’m not talking about evaluating how good our gatherings are. Those who are outside have no idea exactly what it is that we’re doing, and that’s the point. Most of what we’re actually doing, the truly unchurched won’t understand at first glance anyway. And what they do know is usually heavily influenced by a characiturized version of us that seems either irrelevant or too religious, or both.
The truth is most non-church people (who are already not going to a church gathering) probably don’t see anything that inspires them to attend one of our gatherings. They see it as fine for us if we want that, but for them–and for most of the world, they think–it’s irrelevant.
So what do we do? Do we stop gathering? Do we change what we do when we gather? How do we reach that person, the one who’s not going to come?