My mind started racing Sunday afternoon. I tried to take a nap, but I couldn’t get these thoughts out of my head. I woke up with the same thoughts again this morning. I’m trying to figure out how best to reach people in today’s culture. These thoughts began with a game my family plays each Sunday after church. Perhaps your family plays the game. It’s called “Name The Missing” and the object of the game is to list as many people as you can who you didn’t see at church that day. I hate the game personally, but I seem to fall into it and actually win quite often. If you can name the person and where they were you get extra points. The most common response lately has revolved around dance competitions or sporting events. I’m wondering now if there is a better game we should be playing.
We are living in a culture where Sunday morning is not necessarily reserved for church. It used to be and we could wish it still were, but it’s not. For years I have tried to figure out how to stop this cultural shift, but I’m beginning to wonder if that is the correct response. I wonder if we should be considering how we interact with the present culture. How do we reach people who no longer have the mindset that to find God they must free up their Sunday morning?
Jesus said, in Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” Does that command include the dance competitions and the baseball diamond, even if those places are occupied on Sunday morning? What about the restaurant I passed on the way to church this morning? Does the absence of a person from my organized time of service mean they have no interest in God or no desire for Him in their life? I’m not sure it does. I’m wondering if we as the “church” need to rethink our strategy to include those absentees in our outreach.
I’m not suggesting Tuesday night visitation. I don’t want unannounced visitors at my house and I’m a paid professional. I am, however, talking about finding ways to reach people within the schedule the culture is setting for them. That could mean alternative scheduling of our services or it could mean alternative type of “services”. I think it definitely means taking the message of God’s love and grace, which is only available through the person of Jesus Christ, (I added the Jesus qualifier just so someone doesn’t think I’m talking about a new “religion”) to them in a ways that intersect with where and how they have currently chosen to live their life, even if that is just through personal relationships. I guess I’m also wondering if thinking through ways to accomplish this should be occupying my thoughts as much or close to as much as thoughts about how to improve Sunday mornings at my church.
I don’t have all the answers. I’m just thinking. I welcome your ideas.