What if your non-churchgoing friends asked you to join them for a few weekends in a given two-week period, doing what they do and going where they go. This would cause you to miss your church times, would you do it?

Some of you may have answered an emphatic "NO" to that question. Then the next question is simply, "Why?" I would guess that a lot of you would answer something like, "It would cause me to miss church", "I wouldn't feel 'right'", or "It would be odd/awkward/uncomfortable."

Here's another thought...what if your church decided to take out everything in its auditorium and replace it with some round tables, with chairs. Additionally, they stopped having regular meeting times and started having opportunities for you to come whenever you wanted to come, on Sundays (for tradition sake). When you did come, you could either sit down at a kiosk and listen to the sermon that was previously recorded or go into a room where, for bigger groups, and watch the sermon on the screen. You would also have your time to visit, maybe sitting around the tables that were set up or in an area that people could stand and visit. You also wouldn't be required to watch a sermon, you could simply come and hang out as long as you wanted. Does that sound appealing?

For most, that sounds like something so wrong and uncomfortable that it is not church at all.

What if I told you that the first scenario may be how some of your friends view an invitation to go to church with you. Does that surprise you? In essence you are asking them to interrupt their weekend plans for one, two or more weekends. They are going to a place they don't understand. Sing songs, do chants, shake hands with people, practice rituals and various other things, of which they are not familiar with and may make them uncomfortable.

I recently watched a video that talked about a churches and discipleship, by Todd Engstrom. It was eye-opening to me and showed me how our "church" gatherings may not be that appealing to others. It doesn't matter if it is a "small group" setting. These still tend to highlight the organizational aspect of religion.

People tend to not like organizational religion. The idea that everything is so formal or planned out, demonstrates how that speaks to me. To stand around and visit with people, similar to what one does when they go to an informal gathering, is "unorganized."

I doubt my church setting "remodel" will take place in my generation, but it may be a key in helping people become more attracted to church because it is more what society is like outside of our formal Sunday and Wednesday church gatherings.

I also find it interesting that Jesus went with others to their community. Zacchaeus, Matthew, and Woman at the Well all were example of Jesus being with them in their community. He didn't drop off his proverbial business card and say "Come and join us on Sunday." If He didn't do that, why do we?

Meeting them on their turf seemed to be less uncomfortable and more impactful. Maybe we could think about a way to use this principle and become more of what Christ would be to the 21st Century.

May we also be more sympathetic toward our non-churchgoing friends when they turn us down for an opportunity to join us for a church gathering.

Now it's your turn...How does this affect your view of your non-churchgoing friends?Share/Bookmark