Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why Am I Still Afraid To Invite You to My Church?

I've been re-reading Michael Durall's new book The Almost Church Revitalized. It is much better than his previous Almost book. In fact, his arguments make a lot of sense to me.

On pages 33-34, Durall outlines "What Membership Should Mean":

Attending Sunday services regularly
Participating in one program each year that deepens your faith
Participating in one outreach or mission project each year
Reaching the 5 to 10% giving level as soon as possible
Telling others about the church

From my perspective, it is easy to accomplish the first four items. It interests me that there is nothing here about "volunteering" to help run the church in any way: no expectation to join a committee, become an usher or any other of the myriad of jobs to do at any church. Maybe this reflects Durall's understanding that members everywhere naturally find a niche where their greatest gift meets the congregation's greatest need.

I have a heck of a time with that last one: Telling others about the church. Lately, I've been telling folks about participating with our Standing on the Side of Love banner in the LGBTQ Pride Parade. Half the time, I've been telling people who would not attend or even watch a Pride Parade. Frankly, I don't want people who are uncomfortable with this to join my congregation! What I don't do well is any kind of "targeted marketing" (so to speak), where I seek out folks who seem to have certain values and tell them about my church. I almost did this recently, but chickened out. My thought was: what if you come but you don't like it? It would be my fault. Clearly, I need to get over this. How do you tell people about your church, society, congregation or fellowship?


Justine Urbikas said...

wow, I never have anxiety about telling people about my church/UUism, I mean, if they don't like it or its not for them, fine. It isn't a judgment on you if someone isn't into something that you are.

Rev J D said...

you're right to talk about this. the quicker we tell more people about what we're up to, the faster our theology spreads, and maybe even some people will join us. gets us that much closer to realizing the goal of world community that much faster.

Elizabeth J. Barrett said...

Everyone, since I wrote my post, I've been making an extra effort to create a space in conversations for my faith. The first thing I've noticed is that I am around other UUs a whole lot! The second thing is that many unchurched people seem to lump all religions together under a heading like "conservative believers in the supernatural."