Imagine hearing the following from someone you've invited to your church:
“Thank you for the invitation to worship at your church today. I’ve heard so much about your beautiful church and your awesome pastor. I’ve also heard a lot about the dynamic ministries you have here. You know, my family and I have been out of the church for a while now, and we’re looking for a new church home. I know God will eventually direct us to where He’d like us to be. But in the meantime we would still like to worship and become involved with other believers on a regular basis.
So tell me something. Why should we come to your church? There are six other churches within a five to ten mile radius, and they all teach the same thing that your church does, don’t they? Their pastors are dynamic and they have some pretty awesome ministries too. So why should my family attend this particular church, and more importantly, what would make us stay?
Do you think your members would mind me asking them a few questions?
Congregation, what type of atmosphere will we experience when we enter into the sanctuary? Will we be met with stares and strained smiles from saints who act like they are barely alive? Will the atmosphere seem more like a party with extremely loud greetings and laughter? Or will we see worshipers lovingly and cheerfully greeting one another while still maintaining an atmosphere filled with reverence and holiness.
Ushers, do you carry out your duties as doorkeepers of the Lord? Does your countenance reflect that spirit? Will you be attentive and use your discernment as people enter rather than spending that time chatting with your friends, family and fellow ushers/greeters? Will you use wisdom and patience when addressing me if I sit in the wrong section or leave to go to the restroom at an inappropriate time?
I’ve been struggling for a while now so I don’t have many pretty clothes or the appropriate church clothes like a lot of you and I never finished high school. Will your members look down on me?
I’m also married to someone of another race and we’ve got two small rambunctious children. Will this church receive us without making us feel uncomfortable?
My brother lives with us and he’ll be coming to church from time to time. There’s just one thing though. He’s openly gay. He’s been to several other churches that treated him like he was something under the bottom of their shoe. He loves God so much and wants to find a church home. Will he be treated like a child of the King at this church?
And will I be welcomed with open arms in the different ministries at this church? What is in place that will help us discover more of our gifts and talents? Will I be allowed to use those gifts that I am already aware of, or will the leaders be insecure, poorly trained and intimidated individuals who will keep my gifts and me on lock-down?
I need to know when I join a ministry if I’ll be adequately trained. I want to be equipped in order to effectively teach others who may want to be a part of that same ministry.
And you know what? There are lots of skeletons in my closet. I’ve got a pretty sordid past with some serious issues I’ve been dealing with most of my life. I need a safe place to open up. How do I know you’re not like my last church? They were filled with gossipers that enjoyed spreading everything about everybody.
At this point in our lives we need some direction. Is this church capable of giving us that while accepting us just as we are? Will you be able to address our needs and ensure that we are consistently being given good spiritual nourishment? We want to be empowered to live this thing called life to its fullest. We have to know that we are sowing our time, talents and finances on good ground. On Sundays, this family needs more than three points, two poems and a request for ‘amens’ after every sentence? It’s important that we walk away with the motivation and encouragement to seek a closer walk with God on our own the other six days of the week.
So tell me…will my family and I get what we need at this particular church or should we continue to look further?”
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