How about you? How long has it been since you went pro with your church attendance? Do you remember what it was like to just be a regular person on a Sunday morning?
If you're like me, it's difficult to put yourself in the mindset of what a visitor or new member of your church experiences on a typical Sunday morning. We all want our churches to be welcoming and inviting environments, but we're so far on the other end that it's tough to bridge the gap.
Wednesday's podcast is full of awesome content for pastors, but Jeff and I also got the added benefit of sitting with her and hearing her honest thoughts about our ministry. The podcast is awesome for our listeners, but Angela's insights were even better for me and Jeff!
This past week, I took a wilderness trip with some youth from our church and camped in the mountains of Colorado. It was the first time in 12 years that I had slept in a tent outside, and the first time in my life that I camped somewhere without running water, electricity, or even toilets. Yikes.
Facilitating the trip were some seasoned campers who spend at least 10 weekends a summer in tents on top of mountains. It was clear from our conversations that they had long ago worked through the various issues that I (very vocally) encountered as a newbie. Thankfully they extended a lot of grace to me in my struggles.
When it comes to church, I've become an experienced camper. Unfortunately, many people who are new or visiting your church won't be as vocal with their thoughts or issues as I was with my camping companions. To make up for that silence, we have to be diligent in seeking out the views of others.
My challenge to you is this: who can you sit down with from your church and have an honest conversation with regarding what the "view from the pew" is like at your church? Who can you take out to lunch and pick their brain? If you want to know what it's like to be a normal church attendee, go find one to talk to!
Don't let your familiarity with your church create blind spots for you. Get up, get out, and find someone who will help you see from a different angle!