We’re looking at principles we apply at our church so that our weekly services reach truly lost, un- or anti-churched people. Last time I explained how we use “their” culture. Today, principle #3: Don’t use your culture. When I visit churches this is the principle I see most often violated and (I think) one of the main things keeping people away.
So be very careful about using your culture, your Christian culture, your church culture. You need to very careful about the assumptions you make, because your assumptions will create your crowd. Let me explain: The way you speak, the words you choose, will ultimately determine who you get at your church, and (especially) who will stay at your church. So carefully read through your sermons and ask, “What do my words assume?” “What background is necessary for people to get it?” Let me share a few examples:
- You’re preaching and say, “Ephesians 4:12 says …” Queson: What is an Ephesian? Who is Ephesians? Do you think everyone knows that “Ephesians” is from the Bible? Well, if you assume that, guess what? It will be true for your church. Because a new person who comes, and is unchurched, and continually hears things like, “Ephesians 4:12 says …” is going to start thinking, “Okay, this is obviously not for me. They assume that everyone here is a Christian, and I’m not, so I guess I shouldn’t come back.” Now this is easy to fix. Simply say, “The Bible says in Ephesians 4:12 …” And people who don’t know the names of the books of the Bible will say, “Oh.” And they’ll feel comfortable in your church because even though they don’t know the Bible, they know that you know they’re there, and that they’re welcome.
- Another example: You’re preaching one Sunday when you say, “You know how sometimes when you’re praying your mind will start to wander …” What did you just do? You assumed everyone in the room prays. How would I feel if I’m there but don’t pray? “This isn’t a place for me. This is a place for people who already pray. For people who already know God. I’m not supposed to be here.” So, instead, say, “Sometimes when I pray, and for those of who don’t pray yet you may experience this in the future, your mind will start to wander.”
- Another example is communion and offering – taking the time to explain what it is, how it will be done. Acknowledging that some people may not participate and giving them an idea what to do during that time if they won’t
Don’t use your culture. And if you do, be very aware of it and take the time to explain it so no one feels left out. Maybe take the next few weeks to evaluate your services and see how much you’re using your culture, I bet you’ll be surprised.
Next time we’re moving on to principle eight.
Until then … it’s all about the rock n roll.
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