19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Acts 15:19 NIV
What is amazing to me about ministry is how we make it so hard for normal people to come be a part of our ministries and churches. So many times when people walk into our environments (kids teens and adults) we make it difficult for them to connect with what we are doing. In scripture we get to see the conflict that comes when we strive to reach people outside our church culture. James, the brother of Jesus, made it clear to the early followers of Christ that they should not force people to conform to Jewish law in order to be a Christian. This translates to the ministry cultures we create today. Why would we force outsiders to conform to our “ministry/church rules” in order for them to come experience our environment? Have you taken time to evaluate how people are responding to your organization? Are outsiders checking out your ministry? Are you leaders making it easy for guests to connect? Here are some ways can make it difficult for outsiders to connect with our ministry…
- poor communication: if you communicate poorly from stage, if your greeters communicate poorly, if your small group leaders communicate poorly you will immediately make it hard for outsiders to connect with your ministry.
- lack of creativity: boring is not good. when kids, teens, or adults are bored and uninspired they will choose to go to a movie. I really don’t blame them. There is no excuse for making the “good news” boring.
- rules rules rules: guess what, people hate the IRS because of rules. If your ministry is all about rules then outsiders will find it hard to connect. You better focus on what matters most and I never saw Jesus focus on rules.
- lack of excellence: when things are done poorly, people leave. When outsiders see a sloppy environment, sloppy service, or sloppy plan then will turn around and run the other way.
- insider traditions: services that are 2 hours long and full of singing, holding hands for prayer time, videos that are only funny to people are insiders all make it hard for outsiders to connect.
- poor environment planning: every room is a blank slate. take the space you have and maximize it to connect with anyone who walks through the door. Signage, lighting, sound, video all matter to outsiders and help them connect when done correctly.
Don’t make it hard for outsiders to connect with your ministry or church. Whatever it takes, think first about those people that are not there yet. I am thankful Jesus did that for us!