Few churches know how to offer adequate hospitality to a non-Christian visitor. Being nice, loving, warm, and friendly isn’t the same thing as being hospitable. For instance, does your church bulletin use any of the following words:
- Prayer Response
- Pastoral Prayer
- or a host of others)
If so, then the bulletin isn’t pre-Christian ready because a pre-Christian doesn’t know these words.
Similarly, would they “get” the music? Just about the only place to hear an organ today is in a church. And would they know what to do with a hymnal? Only 9 percent of Americans can make heads or tails out of a musical staff.
Would the preacher explain what a Corinthian was, who Paul was, and what a New Testament is … every time any of these were brought up in a sermon?
Don’t forget, a non-Christian also doesn’t know how to behave in church, since they have no experience to fall back on. How would an average member respond if a non-Christian responded to the question, “How are you this morning?” with “F**kin’ awesome!” etc.? The word AWKWARD!!! jumps into my mind. Especially if the conversation was filled with such colorful language throughout.
If you expect pre-Christians to find their way to your worship center – and if you’re hoping they’ll stay – then you’ll probably need to do some prep work.
I have a good friend who is Jewish. He has come to one of our services, and needed guidance at every step. I have been to a Jewish funeral with the same problem …but times ten. My friend guided me where to sit, when to stand, what book to look at, where in the book I should be looking and lots more. That is the way I relate to “newbies” in our church. It starts with the restrooms and a little explanation.
Although I am a senior, I have easily seen the advantage of projection and more active music, Yet since I realize that more than 60% are not singing. I tell the visitor they can sing, listen, read or think. There are lots of tiny steps we take for granted. It helps if the Pastor explains steps as the service progresses.