Edges

Spirituality for Everyday Life

CHURCH MINISTRY

What Prompts Someone to Walk Into a Church? ~

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As the new pastor of a church which once welcomed an overflow congregation of 1,000 to two Sunday morning services and now fills less than ten percent of the sanctuary each Sunday morning, I wonder a lot about this question: What prompts someone to walk into a church?  To attend a worship service there?  To seek counseling from the pastor?  To ask for tangible help from the staff ~ a box of food, or a bus pass, or money?

Increasingly, it seems that the answer is: Nothing.  People who do not presently participate in the life of a religious congregation seldom see any reason to do so.

Most of the young people I know, including my own 20-something  children, who were raised in the church for at least several years, no longer spend time in church communities or see faith as a significant dimension of life.  Most of the adults I know as close personal friends, outside my ministry milieus of church and spiritual direction, have no connection to the life of the church.

The church I served for the past two years was located in a very small village in a rural part of the state.  I often took long walks through the little town, so small that it took two figure-eights to equal my usual three miles, stopping to talk with anyone and everyone I encountered.  Some belonged to churches in the nearby county seat, but most looked shamefaced when I mentioned our beautiful white building across the square, and mumbled something about being “too busy” on Sundays, or simply “not really interested.” 

What is it, I wonder, that might instill in someone the desire to walk, unannounced and unsure, through the front doors of a sanctuary on a Sunday morning?

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This entry was posted on January 24, 2014 by in Uncategorized and tagged , .

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