If you Google “Ship of Fools Morningside church of Christ” you will find a 2014 review of a worship service of the Morningside congregation. It is worth a read. The man who visited us and wrote the review was accurate in his assessment (for then), I think. He slipped in as we were starting worship, and he was supposed to slip out without giving away his identity—a very hard thing to achieve at Morningside.
What if a ‘non-Christian” decided he would visit 52 churches in a year, and your congregation happened to be on his list? It would be interesting to know what he might find. You would like to think that would have the same worship experience on any given Sunday. And that is probably right. What if he came with a list of silent questions? His plan being to make a spreadsheet for the purposes of comparison. That, after 52 weeks he would look back and see what each group offered in the way of worship experience and services within and without the congregations.
Imagine what some of the initial questions might be on that spreadsheet:*Was the church easy to find?*Was I greeted on my arrival?
*Who was the first person to greet me?
*Were they friendly?
*Did I at any time feel spare?
*Would my family like it here?
*Do they have a Sunday School / Youth group?
*Was I invited back?
*Was I invited to lunch?
*What is the age and nationality breakdown?
*Was the sermon interesting or boring, positive or negative…?
*What doctrines did I hear emphasized?
*What was the music like?
*How big was the congregation?
*Do they invite participation in their ministries?
*What do you have to do to join their church?
You would be correct to suggest that there would be a lot more questions added about ministries, beliefs, and activities, but I think it is most telling to find out how the average ‘seeker’ might be received by the Christians at our congregations.
After all, we are about “The Lost Finding THE Church.”
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