A few years ago a small project took place. Churches asked community members and professional researchers to come observe their assemblies and fill out a survey and evaluation form while posing as normal guests. Here is some of what they reported:
- Most members know only a small percentage of other members.
- This congregation seems to be mostly a gathering of anonymous worshippers.
- The church does not seem like a genuine community prepared to bear each others’ burdens.
- There was little expression of interest in being truly involved in each other’s lives.
- Most seem to come to worship for personal reasons like their own spiritual needs and own satisfaction.
- It was like going to a concert or theater, people came in sat down, enjoyed their experience and left.
If these results hold true at most churches, no wonder we are not bringing people to Christ. They can get the same thing at a ballgame or at the movies.
We need to relearn these messages from the apostles and witnesses who God inspired to share His Word,
- Show hospitality and serve each other. 1 Peter 4:9-10, “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:”
- Display compassion and care for each other. 1 Corinthians 12:26, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”
- Pray for each other. James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
- Correct and restore each other. James 5:19-20, “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”
- Teach and admonish each other. Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
- LOVE one another. Galatians 5:13, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
Making this practical here are seven things you can do at your local congregation to help her become warmer and more inviting.
- Formally identify with the local congregation.
- Learn each other’s names.
- Listen to announcements (read the announcement sheet or screen) and make note of cares and joys. Send cards, emails, text messages, etc. to those you can.
- Pray for each other. Go through the church directory and pray for everyone by name.
- Be approachable and transparent. Let people see you as you are. Don’t put on the false mask of perfection.
- Use EVERY available opportunity to be around each other.
- Find your place in the body. Serve, teach, exhort, share, show mercy, lead worship, etc. Try your hand at something new.