Written by Carlton Rhoden on Sep 12, 2013 in About UsChurch Activities for YouthEvents - No Comments

In the past year we have updated our churches website.  It was a fun and interesting experience to undergo.  As I was describing the process to a college friend who works in promotions, she asked, a business-oriented, marketing question: “Who are your biggest competitors?” Competitors? I said we don’t see other churches as “competitors” and we are not intentionally in the business of “stealing sheep” from other congregations. It felt odd to compare our professed ministry of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ through words and deed with a business model of offering a “product” that effectively attracts new “customers.” So my friend re-phrased the question and asked instead, “What are people’s other choices for how to spend their Sunday mornings?” That was an easier question for us to answer.

Each of you know that it is easy to rationalize how it much more preferable it is to stay at home rather than a) deal with the bad traffic, b) find suitable clothing, c) locate a decent parking space, or d) spend the morning hours inside a church building. Also, given how many people now have to work on Sunday mornings, or have been working overtime hours during the week and feel exhausted by the time Sunday morning rolls around, it is not surprising that our biggest “competition” is the option of simply staying home.

For other people, the option of attending church rarely if ever crosses their mind on Sunday mornings, since they neither actively profess the Christian faith nor claim to belong to a Christian denomination. They will say they are good people, spiritual and caring people willing to help those in need – and that is all likely true. But their “community of choice” may involve Facebook or work colleagues or neighborhood friends or a hobby/sports group. They may have negative memories about church from growing up, negative perceptions about the institutional church today, and no desire to challenge those views through actively engaging in church life now.

So, in reaching out to people who make other “choices” on Sunday mornings, start by asking them what images they associate with the word “church”. Most likely they will describe for you a building, possibly one with stained glass windows and hard pews. Yet the bible never talks about church as a building. It always uses organic images – the body of Christ, the living vine, the fellowship of believers touched by God’s Spirit. Church is what happens inside walls (worship, prayer, laughter, trust, compassionate work), not just the walls themselves. Church is the people, not the place where people gather.  So let’s invite someone to church and show them that church is more than a building.

Pastor Carlton

Hilarious Video Just for Fun:

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