More Cussing to God

Jonathan Malm - June 25, 2012

Establish Boundaries

Jonathan Malm - June 25, 2012

The Attitude Needed for a Growing Church

Jonathan Malm - June 25, 2012
More-Cussing-to-God
Establish-Boundaries
The-Attitude-Needed-for-a-Growing-Church

I’ve noticed one common denominator in growing churches. Some of the expanding churches are traditional. Some are modern. Some are Baptist. Some are non-denom. Some use stage designs. Some don’t.

There are so many different types of growing churches but I’ve noticed one similarity in them all. And that’s this:

The congregation is willing to be uncomfortable so that newcomers are comfortable.

I went to two different churches recently. One made us leave before the message. One is now my home church.

Church 1

  • We couldn’t find a seat because everyone was sitting in the aisle rows.
  • There were no ushers taking us directly to a seat. We had to ask to be seated.
  • When we got brave enough to move past a group of worshiping people to a seat, we found out those seats we were scoping out were saved.
  • We finally found a seat on the other side of the auditorium.
  • The lady in front of us was looking back at us realizing we weren’t “from around here”.
  • The special needs young adult to my left was staring at me and my wife every 2 minutes…his father didn’t seem to mind we were feeling awkward.
  • Nobody seemed friendly until the greeting time…which is when we were heading for the exits.

Church 2

  • We’re ushered to our seats regardless of whether or not we ask. Regulars might feel bullied. We felt comfortable.
  • The ushers encourage everyone to sit in the middle of the rows instead of in the aisles.
  • There are so many volunteers to show you exactly where to go. And they point it out before you even ask.
  • Those volunteers give up their chance to worship by staying in the lobby during the whole service. They are servants.
  • People genuinely seem happy to see us there. From 10 minutes before the service all the way to 10 minutes after.

Growth is uncomfortable. Growing pains. We have to be willing to go through them if we want to grow.

Many leaders are willing to endure the pains…but many congregants aren’t.

You have to coach your congregation through the growth. Pastor them until they’re willing and ready for the growing pains.

What do you think? Have you seen this in your church? Are your people willing to grow…even if it’s uncomfortable?

[Photo Credit]

8 comments

  1. Dude I love this piece and the motivation behind it – and I’m totally on board with the point you make. The bit that made ME a bit uncomfortable though was this: “his father didn’t seem to mind we were feeling awkward.”

    Sorry, what now?

    Obviously I wasn’t there so I’m only reacting to your words but I don’t see what the father could or should do differently…
    Apologise for his sons ‘special needs’?
    Keep him away from church for fear of unsettling others?
    Or more reasonably, hope for some tolerance and grace from whoever sits next to his son – churchgoer or not.

    If that point wasn’t listed I’d gladly be sharing this with my church leaders as an example of how to act.

    1. Perhaps I underplayed what his son was doing to be tactful. I apologize for the misunderstanding.

      I realize this is a sensitive subject with many and I’m not proposing special needs individuals stay outside the service.

      But if I have a child or even a friend who’s visibly disturbing others (and I definitely underplayed what he was doing)…I do as much as possible to minimize that.

      This probably won’t satisfy your protestations…but just give me the benefit of the doubt…I beg of you. 🙂

  2. Dude I love this piece and the motivation behind it – and I’m totally on board with the point you make. The bit that made ME a bit uncomfortable though was this: “his father didn’t seem to mind we were feeling awkward.”

    Sorry, what now?

    Obviously I wasn’t there so I’m only reacting to your words but I don’t see what the father could or should do differently…
    Apologise for his sons ‘special needs’?
    Keep him away from church for fear of unsettling others?
    Or more reasonably, hope for some tolerance and grace from whoever sits next to his son – churchgoer or not.

    If that point wasn’t listed I’d gladly be sharing this with my church leaders as an example of how to act.

    1. Perhaps I underplayed what his son was doing to be tactful. I apologize for the misunderstanding.

      I realize this is a sensitive subject with many and I’m not proposing special needs individuals stay outside the service.

      But if I have a child or even a friend who’s visibly disturbing others (and I definitely underplayed what he was doing)…I do as much as possible to minimize that.

      This probably won’t satisfy your protestations…but just give me the benefit of the doubt…I beg of you. 🙂

  3. Hey Jonathan, thanks for always being spot on with your posts. We are working towards keeping the growth mentality currently. 2 years old as a church and we are starting to push 300, but as we do we are running the risk now of being comfortable and not continuing to do the things that will bring someone in. Just something as simple as asking congregants to sit to the middle of the seats… Now that I look from the stage I see more middles, and need to see the ends!

    Thanks, as always. Nathan

  4. Hey Jonathan, thanks for always being spot on with your posts. We are working towards keeping the growth mentality currently. 2 years old as a church and we are starting to push 300, but as we do we are running the risk now of being comfortable and not continuing to do the things that will bring someone in. Just something as simple as asking congregants to sit to the middle of the seats… Now that I look from the stage I see more middles, and need to see the ends!

    Thanks, as always. Nathan

  5. I think you’ve made some very good comments here. The church should certainly be welcoming and gracious to everyone. I think many churches could take a few notes on hospitality from this post.

    Obviously a lot goes into the making of a healthy God-glorifying church: sermons, equipping of the saints, serving orphans and widows, serving the poor, discipling others, spreading the Gospel, genuine worship, visiting those in prison, community development etc. in addition to hospitality.

    Also, I’m not sure that people forgoing worshipping God by, “staying in the lobby the whole service,” is necessarily a healthy thing. Hard to get around this being as latecomers need to be seated as well but I’m still not sure if this is something to be commended.

    I do think that your comments about the special needs kid were quite out of place.
    Even if the father should have been more attentive you didn’t need that comment in order to make your point. Tact is a major part of effective communication.

  6. I think you’ve made some very good comments here. The church should certainly be welcoming and gracious to everyone. I think many churches could take a few notes on hospitality from this post.

    Obviously a lot goes into the making of a healthy God-glorifying church: sermons, equipping of the saints, serving orphans and widows, serving the poor, discipling others, spreading the Gospel, genuine worship, visiting those in prison, community development etc. in addition to hospitality.

    Also, I’m not sure that people forgoing worshipping God by, “staying in the lobby the whole service,” is necessarily a healthy thing. Hard to get around this being as latecomers need to be seated as well but I’m still not sure if this is something to be commended.

    I do think that your comments about the special needs kid were quite out of place.
    Even if the father should have been more attentive you didn’t need that comment in order to make your point. Tact is a major part of effective communication.

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