As we are all aware, there are plenty of Americans sitting on couches on Sunday morning. Sure, some are coaching soccer, eating hash brown casserole at Cracker Barrel or walking in the park, but whatever it is they’re doing, what they’re not doing is coming to church.
But once in a while, a few of them put down their remotes, fork or whistle and comes to church. They inquire about the place, sit in on some worship services, stop evading the pastor’s handshake after the service and maybe, just maybe, join the church.
In an effort to not scare them away, we soft sell our expectations. Give if you can. Here is a list of small groups, maybe you could join one if you want. If you want to do mission work keep an eye out in the summer when the weather gets better. We’re just glad you’re here.
Afterall, visitors and new members are rare. Let’s not scare them away with expections.
The problem with this, I believe, is that when people get off the couch it is because they want to have things expected of them. If they wanted to do nothing, they could stay on the couch and do nothing in their jammies. Why would they get dressed and go to church to do nothing?
When you join a Kiwanis Club they make member expectations clear. So do soccer teams (you know those things that are stealing kids out of your Sunday School program).
I think when someone joins your church, you need to set expectations for worship, mission work, small group participation, prayer, service in the church and, yes, giving.
If you’re serious about this, two things will happen. One is that those who got off the couch for a reason will know that this is the place for them. The second is that those who are there because they are looking for a place that will serve them and not ask for anything in return will figure out that this church isn’t like that and they will continue looking for a church.
Either way, I think your church is better off.