Sometimes the most important thing we can do is listen and reflect. Thom Schultz of Group Publishing wrote “10 Wishes from a Pew Sitter” and I can’t say that I totally agree with it but I found these comments all stimulate discussion about how to be the church.
Suppose you could have a group of your church leaders sit in a room and do nothing but discuss these 10 wishes. Here are some questions that you might ask.
· How can we practice hospitality in a way that allows visitors to feel welcomed?
· How can make our worship and sermons more relevant and meaningful?
· How can we encourage feedback from the congregation that would help us truly provide worship that is stimulating, thoughtful and meaningful?
· How can we set the example for balancing our devotion to serving the church with our devotion to serving the needs of our family?
· How can we provide an atmosphere during or after worship where we can talk about how we should respond to what we hear?
· Why does the writer want us to get rid of our pews… really?
There are more questions you can ask but what a great way to meet and talk about how we can be a better church in a rapidly changing world.
10 Wishes from a Pew Sitter — Thom Schultz
As a pew-sitter, I have a few wishes for the church leaders I know and love:
- Banish the “stand and greet your neighbor” time in the worship service. I know your intentions are good, but it’s forced, fruitless and goofy.
- Forget everything they taught you about three-point sermons. You’re wildly successful if you can get across one point. Just one point. Then sit down.
- Get out and spend time with real people. Schedule lunches at your members’ workplaces and schools. Listen. Get a feel for how real people live.
- Encourage regular evaluation. Use comment cards. Ask us what we remember from last week’s sermon. Then take us seriously, and adjust.
- Crank down the volume of the band. Allow us to actually hear the voices of the flock.
- Burn the fill-in-the-blank sermon guides. They’re insulting, distracting and ineffective. (Can you imagine Jesus using them? Let’s see, “Feed my _______.”)
- Show hospitality. Encourage people to enjoy a cup of coffee-during the service.
- Let us participate. Entertain our questions-during the service. Let the real people around us tell how God is working in their lives.
- Relax. Make some real friends. Spend more time with your family. Don’t schedule every evening with church meetings.
- Get rid of the pews. Really.