Wednesday, March 28, 2007

How to keep the LOST out...

Here's 10 good ways to keep the LOST out of your church...
As for us at Newlife we're going to keep working hard at being inclusive to the disconnected. It's simply not negotiable when it comes to following Jesus (Luke 15 & 1 Corinthians 14).
Thanks to Church Redone for the 10.

1. Don’t have a website : This is the information age, even 107 year old women have blogs, but not your church. No church website, no blog, no flickr account, and don’t podcast your sermons. Knowledge is power and providing me easy access to information about your church might empower me to learn more or even visit. So even if you must have a website, make sure it is poorly designed, lacking in information, hard to navigate, out of date and doesn’t have an rss feed to make things even remotely easy for me.
2. Be completely inactive in the community : If you’re not doing anything in the community then no one will talk about your church. That makes it a lot harder for me to accidentally find out anything useful. So don’t serve the community or partner with other churches or non-profits. In fact it’s really just best if you stay completely inward-focused and don’t do anything missional in your city.
3. Don’t answer your phone : Regardless of what time I call (weekday, weekend, morning, afternoon, evening) don’t answer the phone and don’t have an answering machine or voice mail for me to leave a message or prayer request. If you do have voice mail, don’t include your website address, service times or directions to your church on your message, and don’t ever answer the phone on Sunday mornings. That way when I’m lost en route to service, I’ll have no choice but to drive around aimlessly until I give up and go home.
4. Allow misinformation : Sometimes you just can’t prevent denominations or directories from listing information about your church. When contact information changes, don’t tell them about the update. You can save time by providing them incorrect information initially and for added confusion make sure each directory lists different information about your church, all of it wrong.
5. Lack clear signage : Even if I’m determined to visit your church, you have several on site options to discourage me. The first is to play hide and seek. Is your church in a nondescript building or on a street with several other churches? Have absolutely no signage; none, whatsoever. Except maybe on the mailbox, where you abbreviate things beyond comprehension. If you run a Christian school, put up a 10′ x 14′ sign just for it, so I’ll be led to believe the building is only a school.
6. Have insufficient parking/seating : Other discouraging on-site options are lack of adequate parking and seating. Does your church seat 200? Only have 30 parking spaces. Been running at capacity for weeks or months? Don’t start another service, so that there will be standing room only. Have visitors’ parking? Put it in the corner of the lot away from the entrance. Have adequate parking? Don’t stripe the lot or have parking attendants; chaos is best. Have adequate seating? Make it as uncomfortable as possible.
7. Ignore Visitors : Despite your best efforts I have found and attended your church. In fact, I even filled out a visitor’s card requesting more information. Don’t acknowledge my visit in any way. Don’t call me, don’t send me a thank you card, don’t answer any of my questions or give me any information about how to become involved or learn more about Jesus. Also don’t have any literature available to provide visitors and don’t train your volunteers to be courteous or helpful in anyway.
8. Respond half-heartedly to inquiries : If responding to information requests at all, do so extremely slowly and only partially. Wait 1 week or more to return emails or phone calls and if I ask several questions, don’t answer them all. Instead just tell me I should come to a service to find out more. That saves you a couple minutes of response time and makes you look very busy and important. Whatever you do, do not start a dialogue with me.
9. Be evasive about your beliefs : When I ask a direct question about the church’s beliefs, ignore the question or act like you don’t understand and then start telling me about your denomination or church programs. For “What We Believe”, only include the Nicene Creed on your website or literature. If I’m adamant about wanting positional clarity, instead tell me about the love of Jesus and how Christianity isn’t about division. For those times you do answer my questions, act offended that I would even ask, then try and make me feel stupid or sinful for questioning you.
10. Lie to me : When all else fails, simply lie to me about your church. You might just get a few weeks of attendance out of me before I learn the truth. Are you denominationally affiliated? Don’t mention it ever and talk about how independent you are when I find out. Being on mission is important to me, so make it sound like all 500 of your members are actively involved in serving the city, even though you don’t give a single cent to local missions and never talk about it from the pulpit, because you actually hate the city and it’s sinful people. Lastly, spend a lot of time telling me how you are distinctive from other churches, even though you’re not.

No comments: