4. Your people don’t know any unchurched people. This can be a real problem. How can people who attend your church invite unchurched people if they don’t know any? One of the ways we combat that where I serve at Connexus (where 60 percent of our growth is from unchurched people) is to offer very little mid-week programming—mostly just community groups for people to gather in, at most, one night a week. We want people to be at home and be a family, invite friends over, get to know their neighbors, play on community sports teams and love the cities and communities they live in. It’s a lot easier to invite unchurched friends to church when you have some. Most churches keep their ‘salt’ inside the box … it never actually touches any food.
5. You speak insider. If unchurched people show up, you confuse them by the way you speak. If they have to learn code to understand what people in the hallway are saying (“We were blessed by great fellowship the other day”) or what’s being said from the front (“Sanctification is a process of regeneration led by the Holy Spirit”), they’ll leave. Talk like normal people. Be clear. Remember, being unclear does not make you deep. It just makes you unclear.
6. You judge them. If you start reaching unchurched people, they’re going to look like, well, unchurched people. Their lifestyle will be different. Sex won’t just be for married people. You’ll deal with addictions, family break down, competing ideas about who God is and much more. Stop judging. Start loving. Very few people get judged into life change; many of us get loved into life change. Start with judgment, and they’re gone. And, apparently, Jesus will be upset too.
7. You’re not sure what to do with them when they get there. You have no clear steps. No environments designed with new people in mind. You don’t know how to engage their questions, to journey with them. Even if they come, they probably won’t stick around if you can’t lead them into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
That’s what I’ve seen as I’ve talked with many churches and church leaders. And those are things we constantly guard against at Connexus.