Years ago, I had just finished up a ten year run of ministry working in church staffed by most of the members of my family. My season had ended because we were relocating to another state. Besides finding and adjusting to a new home and new school for the kids, we had to find a new church. After working “in church” so diligently for so long I was determined to just sit and enjoy some services and never be in the position to be a leader, teacher or musician in one againJ As I sat in my first service at one of the churches, (after visiting several others) I realized that I had not yet listened or engaged in any of those we visited. I had analyzed the service, critiqued the music and evaluated the biblical, entertaining value of the sermons. If you asked me what any of the services were about, I would not have been able to answer. Simply stated, I put nothing in and got nothing out.
As the Founding Pastor of a church in Oklahoma today, I see people come and go all the time. I’ve had many conversations with them in the foyer, my office and in our café. I always like to hear how they got there, what they thought about our people and see what their opinion was of the experience. Some have told me they came later than the scheduled start time to evade talking to anyone. Others said they had an exit or escape plan in place in case they didn’t like it in the first ten minutes. TEN minutes! How do you know if its good in ten minutes? It seemed to me that most of the people I talked to had their mind made up, the heart disengaged and their mouth shut before they went!
So that made me consider some things that might prove beneficial when looking for a new local church fellowship. Let me suggest three things that you should do before making that initial visit to a church in your area. There are many things I could list but these you can easily remember.
1. Open Your Mind
Most of us are pretty opinionated. We know what we like, what we want and usually have an idea of how to get it. When you are going to visit a new church the biggest challenge will be comparison shopping to what you already know or where you have already been. “Clear the mechanism” and open your mind to this fresh new experience as if it were the first…no judging. Notice the positive things happening from the moment you enter to the moment you leave.
Tomorrow, I will give you 2 more:)