I often mention to people that one of my definitions for evangelism is “changing people’s assumptions.” In our Western context, almost everyone has heard of at least one version of the Christian gospel. By what they have seen on television, heard through the grapevine, or experienced in a church setting, most feel they know what Christianity has to offer, and they aren’t showing much interest. When pushed even further as to why they are not drawn to Christianity, they usually mention a problem with the church as an institution or organization. In other words, they tell us what they think about our formal gatherings and our churchliness.
So if people’s hang-up is not as much about Christ as it is about the idea of “church,” then we have an opportunity to help reshape their opinions by spending time with them and showing them what a true Christian believes and what one lives like. It also means we need to take a good look at what we do on Sundays – especially how we speak – and thus help reshape their opinions by reshaping how we do things on a Sunday.
What would we change on a Sunday to make the church service more relational and real and less frightening and freaky? Good question! Just some rambling thoughts put into a list:
- Relational first, presentation second
- Everyone’s messed up, therefore everyone’s safe to be there regardless of their level of faith or doubt
- Communion table is central, intimate, open, participatory, and the glue that holds people together
- Not polished, not excellent, but proficient
- Sermons as story as opposed to abstract teaching
- Food, lots of food
- Simple worship without any hype or pretence
- Leaders who lead through vision and hold the community to higher purposes\Orderly, but everyone feels safe to raise a hand, share a thought, or ask a question
- Sacrilegious, but reverent
- Friendly and normal people at each location (main door, inner door, coffee nook) to be friendly and helpful
- No official offering but people give
- No altar calls but people come as part of their conversion process
- Everyone lends a hand when something needs to be done and accomplished
I am sure there are lots more ideas and thoughts. If you have some – share them, please.