The easiest way to chase new people away from your church is to follow one or all of these choices:
- Gossip about your former church. Tell them how horrible it was, question the leadership, and talk about the congregants as if they were all somehow at fault for what offended you. Then, tell them this church, your new church, is much more in line with what the Bible preaches. It doesn’t hurt anyone. Plus, you say, that other church wasn’t at all friendly. It had nothing to do with your Sylvester Stallone “Rocky” stance near the back of the church (you know that scene where Rocky faced the Russian?).
- Never make new friendships. Always sit in the same seat and look uncomfortable if someone sits next to you that isn’t your friend from small group. If someone is sitting in your seat, make all sorts of strange noises like you are offended, but way too polite to say so. If necessary, do a Seinfeld and sneeze and cough violently without covering your mouth. That should make them move.
- Put down the other services. Personally, I like my music. It’s far superior than what they are listening to; or so I tell myself. If you argue and complain about the other service enough, perhaps more will come to your service. Perhaps if you force them to sit in your service and listen to your music, they will eventually love it as much you do. There’s nothing like classical music after getting two hours of sleep the night before because the baby wouldn’t stop crying. If they still won’t come to your service, I would suggest making faces about it when someone mentions the service.
- Put down the leadership. Like sports fans everywhere, we know better than the coaches what the team ought to do to get more believers, more baptisms, or more money in the church. We love to tell people what to do or say, but we are way too busy to plan or start anything or to help. Programs afterall are the product of magic. They sprout and become mammoth and amazing ministries we could just walk into and enjoy.
- Go online and complain. Oh, this one hurts.
Okay, seriously….when I mention all of these things, I am thinking of the common complaints I read online via various blogs, magazine or sermons on how to re-imagine or re-think church, and heard elsewhere. But when I wrote some of them I also thought of me. When was the last time I made a new friendship that took more than a two second like on Facebook? When have I said I could do something better and had to put my feet where my words were in order to prove it which didn’t come without hurt feelings from the other party? In a conversation with Tony, we discussed how unified some religions are compared to others. Why are they unified?
Because they don’t do any of the above, at least, not online, in church, or among their friends or family members. Church begins with us and our actions. Church is like family where everything you do has influence, and like Tom Garasha said last Sunday, our own running away from God could have collateral damage–the poor choices in our lives that affect others. Because our running away from God, like justifying our behavior or being too judgmental towards others to hide our own inconsistencies, can hurt the people we influence. The above examples are easy ways to drive a seeker right into the arms of a cult. If Christ’s church won’t accept someone, the devil will gladly take them, warmly enveloping them in false theology.