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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Encourage regular evaluation. Use comment cards. Ask us what we remember from last week’s sermon. Then take us seriously, and adjust.
  5. Crank down the volume of the band. Allow us to actually hear the voices of the flock.
  6. 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 _______.”)
  7. Show hospitality. Encourage people to enjoy a cup of coffee-during the service.
  8. Let us participate. Entertain our questions-during the service. Let the real people around us tell how God is working in their lives.
  9. Relax. Make some real friends. Spend more time with your family. Don’t schedule every evening with church meetings.
  10. Get rid of the pews. Really.