Wednesday, January 7, 2009

First-time Church Visitors

Have I been in church so long that I have forgotten what it might look like to a first-time visitor?  Where is the line between tailoring the message to the visitor, and making the visitor feel at home?

Now I don't believe we ought to change the message to attract the unbeliever. But, what can we do to make the new visitor feel less awkward?  And yes, I know the video is an exaggeration and not everyone is as awkward or as inept as Mr. Bean, but bear with me.

Of course, like many things, it's easy to go too far.  This dichotomy has given rise to the seeker sensitive movement.  Churches made an effort to tailor the experience to what the unbeliever was seeking.  As a natural progression, we are now tailoring the message to what the unbeliever is seeking, while not addressing necessary themes like repentance and redemption.

Where is that balance?  How do we decide when we are working to draw people versus allowing God to use us to draw people.

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

John 12:32 (ESV)

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