Church for Dummies

I received e-mail feedback the other day from someone who attends our church. Not having grown up attending church very often but now wanting to learn the Bible and about the things of God, the woman thanked us for being a “church for dummies.” (That’s her term…not mine…) I laughed at first when I saw her comment and wondered how I should receive the remark, but then she explained that she used to leave church more confused than when she arrived. Now, after attending our church for a year or so, she is starting to understand the Bible and wants to continue learning more. She is thankful for a church that is challenging her to grow in her faith but inviting enough to feel welcome, regardless of her background. I took it as a high compliment!

As I processed the meanings behind her statement, I thought of a few reasons she may feel as she does about our church.

Here are 4 reasons she might call our church a “church for dummies.”

Instruction
We teach truth everyone needs to know, but we try to use language people who grew up outside the church can also understand. If there are Biblical terms not common to everyday language, we try to explain the word rather than assume they know it or leave them guessing. Let’s face it. Being a mature believer is simpler than we’ve made it to be at times. It’s not a list of rules to keep but a relationship to develop. Jesus said the work of God was “to believe in the One He has sent.” (John 6:29) The real work of being a Christian is Christ working in and through us as we submit our lives to Him. Our goal then is first to engage the heart, create a passion for knowing Christ more fully and being like Him, and then provide them with resources, environments, and service opportunities that help them grow as a believer. We know that engaging their hearts first is a key to helping them take ownership in their individual spiritual growth process.

Application
We try to help people apply the timeless truth of God’s Word to their lives today. We want them take next steps in life according to the truths of an unchanging God. The Bible is not only historical but also practical and applicable to everyday life, so we try to help people understand how to adapt their lives to the truth of Scripture.

Illustration
We use illustrations to relate truth to people. They called them parables when Jesus used them, and we use lots of them. The illustrations we use are mostly from current, modern day, and very transparent examples of how God works in a person’s life. Whether a personal story from our lives, someone whose life is changing at Grace, or a video element, examples of real life help people better understand the Bible.

Follow up
We know the people we see on Sunday aren’t living our vision as closely as we do during the week. It’s our occupation, but they have busy lives that distract them, so we find ways to repeat the same messages throughout the week, series, and year.

If we’re doing our job, then people who are mature in their faith or people who are new to faith or still exploring faith can discover truth and be challenged to adjust their lives to that truth.

I don’t even mind being labeled…a church for dummies…in fact…the term is growing on me a little.

How does your church help people outside the faith or new to faith learn and grow in faith?