My Church Doesn’t Look Like That...
This past weekend, I attended a church growth summit. The theme of the summit was tipping the cows that hinder the growth of your church. The very first cow that needed to be tipped was the “my church doesn’t look like that” cow.
How would you react if you saw someone walk into your shirt wearing a tank top, shorts and bare feet? If you wouldn’t bat an eye, kudos to you! I can tell you from my what happened to me yesterday that walking in that way can be a very intimidating experience, especially if your church has a “mature population.” Some people didn’t notice what I was wearing, but I noticed a number of people who gave me disapproving glances as they walked past me. And this is as an established member of the church. Perhaps their knowledge of me and the memory that I stood before them the week before wearing a nice suit skewed their impression but I didn’t feel terribly welcome.
Luckily, many churches have begun to adopt a more casual dress code for Sunday worship. While some people may feel that this is disrespectful to God, I think it’s positive in the sense that a guest walking through the doors for the first time will not be intimidated by feeling under-dressed. If you see the story I posted today on Serve One Another in Love, you will see that even some pastors have cast aside their robes and suits to place them on the same level as their congregation.
If your church is still slightly more formal, I challenge you to dress down for church next week. Wear something that you would never think to wear to church and see how you are received. If you feel uncomfortable, I would encourage you to mention that to your church and explain how their views and reactions are holding the church back from growing. More importantly, they may be driving people out of the church who are in desperate need of the lessons that are being taught. If you attend a casual church, perhaps next week is the week to go all out and dress nicer than you ever would. Judging others based on how they dress when they walk through the doors is a problem at both ends of the spectrum.
It seems like common sense that we would accept guests for who they are but we are often clouded by our own perceptions of what our church looks like. In order to open our doors wide and accept everyone, we need to tip the cow of our own views and simply thank God that He led them to your church family.
Throughout this week, I am going to be posting more information that may help you help your church experience growth in a time when every day there are churches closing their doors. We all need to start taking action if we want God’s kingdom to thrive!
By Heather Aynne
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