“They aren’t coming to us [the church] any more…. We are no longer the first place people think about when life falls apart. We have to actually do the “Go” part of the Great Commission.” This is from a blog post by Ron Edmondson: Paradigms of the “New Normal” in Church Leadership
This is a good article and I recommend that you read it. Mr. Edmonson is, I think, trying to get the church – i.e. you and I – to recognize that “we’re not in Kansas anymore,” as Dorothy said to Toto when they found themselves in the land of Oz.
What did Dorothy do in Oz? She built relationships – the tin man, the straw man, the Lion, little green people, a nicely dressed witch, Oz himself.
How did she do it? She walked down the yellow brick road, out into the world of Oz. And there she encountered others. She listened to their story (“I’m rusty and can’t move”, “I’m afraid and can’t move”…). She told them who she was (“I’m lost and trying to get home”). She invited them to come with her on the journey.
It’s about relationships, folks. How the church markets itself is through building relationships one person at a time.
Here’s another angle on why we should do this: Put yourself in the visitor’s shoes. How do you feel when you walk into a new place, especially a place where everyone seems to know everyone else? I feel nervous and a bit scared. What does it mean to you when someone speaks to you in this situation? It makes me feel much less nervous. It makes me feel a bit more included.
Jesus was all about love and love is evidenced in hospitality. Speak to the visitor in church tomorrow.