Friday, May 21, 2010

Is our church a friendly church?

I recently visited a friend who is a pastor in the city of Chicago. The church is immaculate: beautiful sanctuary, huge steeple, marble altar, and elevated pulpit. The congregation at one time had thousands of members and people just rushed in to become part of this dynamic fellowship.

However, as people moved out, the area changed. The change was not necessarily racial or economic, but theological. There are still many people around of all ethnicities and kinds, but most have no desire to be part of a church, especially a Biblical, Christ-centered one.

With the complex history and struggle, what is the first thing this new pastor does? Bigger signs, parade floats, booths, contemporary worship service? Nope. He steps outside for at least an hour a day and now sits on the front steps. While hundreds of people walk bye his church, he and other members simply say, "hello." His main goal is to have the community see this church as a "friendly church." He continues Word and Sacrament ministry that is faithful to his calling, but he is using God giving gifts (as we say 1st article gifts in the Small Catechism) to help the community know that they are a caring community of people.

What ways is your church letting people know that you are friendly? Does the local community even know you are around? If you went door to door would they know anything about your church? What would they say?

May the Lord of wisdom, help us all find ways to be friendly churches with a powerful message.

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