#3 in 2011: Dear Church,

I’m taking a break from my blog between Christmas and New Year’s. I’m re-posting a couple of your favorites (based on clicks) and a couple of my own favorite posts from 2011. I hope you enjoy! I’ll be interacting in the comments section, so if you comment, I’ll respond. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! 

Dear local church,

You do weird things. And please don’t tell me you have no idea what I’m talking about.

  • You eat tiny crackers and drink tiny glasses of grape juice.
  • You sing. Loudly and passionately. And it’s 8:30 on a Sunday morning. Seriously, who sings, out loud, where others can hear them before 9:00?
  • You ask people to come down front. Nobody at my son’s baseball game has ever asked me to make a big life decision right in front of the whole stadium.
  • You tell me I need to go somewhere else, into someone else’s home, to really connect.
  • You pass a bucket for me to put money in. Do I have to pay to worship here?
  • You lay hands on people to pray for them. Never seen that one done in a helpful way in a PTA meeting. Never.
  • You preach from the Bible, and keep referring to it as an authority in your life, but I don’t see it like that. It’s a bit strange that you would put such weight into such an old document.

I’m not saying that these things are wrong. They’re just weird to me. I need you to help me understand why I need to do them. Why they’re important. Why you do them every week. Why I need to join in. Why I feel like such an outsider when I’m there.

I don’t want to be an outsider. Nobody does. I’d like to feel like I’m a part of you guys…but I need you to be patient. Walk me through understanding and doing. It took you lots of years to get where you are…help me get there. But don’t assume that, after 2 weeks, I’m going to “get” it.

Because when you don’t help me understand, you push me away…and it seems you don’t care that I come back.


-Church visitors

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Ben Reed is the small groups pastor at Long Hollow, a multi-site church in the Nashville, TN, area. He holds an Mdiv from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ben is also an avid coffee drinker and CrossFitter, but not at the same time. Catch up with Ben at BenReed.net. In his book, "Starting Small: The Ultimate Small Group Blueprint," he helps leaders through the process of putting a small group ministry together and creating a place where people belong so they can become.