Thursday, August 02, 2012

What It Means to be a Visitor

When a person or a family “out of the blue” visits a church, I have found you are basically “on your own!” This is a sad state of modern churches. My family and I are visiting many churches this summer, most of which already know me and are prepared for our arrival and participation in the church meeting. But there have been a few meetings where I did not have a booked preaching engagement, and we were just “nobodies” in the crowd. Being a nobody is just fine with me. Jesus took upon himself the form of a servant, and had no reputation (Philp 2:7). But it is vitally important that all “nobodies” are welcomed and informed of what is currently happening around them, where they should go for Sunday School, where the nursery is, who the pastor and pastor’s wife is (and maybe even get them to meet right then). This seems to rarely happen today. At least in my experience. I experienced the very same “black out” of such vital information three years ago when we did a short furlough in 2009. Evidently, modern churches are far too comfortable with just the people they currently have coming, and don’t know how to actually “minister” to new people – therefore, new people don’t regularly visit, and new people definitely don’t stay! That is just plain wrong! To be a visitor in a Bible believing Baptist church ought to be the most welcoming of experiences, for anyone from mature Bible believer, to the most ignorant of pagans! I challenge every pastor to take off their kingly robes for a few Sunday, and act like a pauper, and see what the unsaved and uninformed visitor experiences when they arrive at and attempt to navigate your churchianity (see James 2:1-4). It probably will grieve you, and hopefully will motivate you to change your church back into the spiritual hospital that Christ designed it to be!