Sunday, September 23, 2012

Another Sunday Morning...

Today, many people will go to church to pay their penance worship God. As I struggle with what it means to worship, I also struggle with church.

Story 1: I attend a nearby church that has a good reputation and is doing some good things in the community. I am greeted by friendly people and introduced to others. I took a seat and enjoy the music. The speaker's pastor's message was next. He mentioned the name of Jesus several times during hte message, a plus. I really can't remember his title, but he spoke of our need to have Christian friends and surround ourselves with others who are Christians. It was all about me and what I needed to do to be a better person.

While I agree with the idea of communing with those of like faith, he seemed to take it to an extreme. Is this the picture of Jesus? Was he one who surrounded himself with "Yes men?" The speaker (I really can't call him a pastor) spoke of the need to give and accept criticism as brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to be challenged (apparently be having others watch over us and correct our errors).

I took him to heart. A few days later, I received a letter from them, thanking me for my visit. Inside the letter was a gift, a $5 gift card from them redeemable at a local grocery store because that is what Jesus would do. I also recieved an e-mail thanking me for my visit and asking me to respond by rating and commenting on various aspects of my visit.

I rated them high for their friendliness and their music. I rated them weak in the area of the preaching sermon  message. I was not mean or confrontational, I just stated that I thought it was the weakest part of my visit. I never heard from them again. Apparently our need to talk to others does not include visitors who don't love every aspect of our service. Apparently the need to have thick skin when someone talks to us doesn't apply to preachers. Or maybe, if a $5 gift card and an e-mail are not enough to get someone back into a pew, then that person is just not reachable. I can handle that burden.


Bob Edwards said...

A $5 gift card seems strange but it may be a better idea than the mugs our church hands out to first time visitors?

Bob Edwards said...

Subscribing to email follow-up.

Don G said...

I guess I just question the whole idea of giving a gift card, mug, loaf of bread, etc. as a means of evangelism. But we live in a consumeristic society, so we evangelize with consumeristic means. But does that mean that our culture has invaded the church more than the church has invaded our culture?

Thanks for stopping!

Bob Edwards said...

I hear you Don but I do wonder why some churches treat people more like employees than customers.