Does Your Church Have Inside Jokes?
Do you like inside jokes? There is something great about feeling included and having something special. What does this have to do with leading a church? That’s a great question. Thanks for asking it!
It has a lot to do with church culture. Churches that tend to be growing and reaching people do a great job of on boarding guests. In smaller churches it’s easier to think, “Everyone knows everyone.”
In order to reach more people we have communicate in a way that includes them. This doesn’t mean that we water down the gospel or change the message. It simply means that we explain it.
Here are some examples…
In a recent welcome the pastor referenced a guest speaker that was at the church last week. The issue is he gave no context. He simply said, “It’s like Pastor Joe said…” Who is pastor Joe? For everyone that was at church last week they were instantly in on the conversation. For those that missed church or it was their first time they were on the outside. At the church I lead we’ve recently added a little phrase at the beginning of the welcome. Before the announcements start whoever is giving the welcome says, “Hi, my name is ________. In just a few minutes you are going to hear from our Lead Pastor as he continues our series. But before he comes I have some special information for you.” Why do we do that? Because an outsider may think this portion is the sermon. They may not know that this is only 2 to 4 minutes of our service.
In a recent sermon the pastor was teaching about the sermon on the mount. The text was about Jesus and His sermon. During the sermon the pastor referenced Paul and what he had to say about this same subject. If you grew up in church then you quickly connected the dots. For guests or those who are new to the church they were left on the outside. Who is Paul? Taking 30 seconds to give some context on boards everyone in the room.
Have you heard the worship song, Lion and the Lamb? It’s a great song! The song has the lyric, “Lion of Judah.” During a recent service someone who was newer to church leaned over to her friend and asked, “Who is this Judah character?” This person liked the song, but was on the outside when it came to understanding the context. Another example is the song Reckless Love. After a recent church service someone from the church approached the pastor and said, “I love that song Reckless Love! I’m drawn to tears every time we sing it. I just have one question. What does it mean that Jesus left the 99 for the 1.” The pastor was perplexed because without that context he wasn’t sure what brought on the tears. The song is moving because Jesus leaves the 99 found to rescue the 1 lost sheep.
I know you are busy and you have a lot on your plate. This is a simple tweak that everyone on your staff, and anyone on stage on a Sunday can implement.
Everyone wants to be included. What part of our service needs some context to include as many people as possible?Everyone wants to be included. What part of our service needs some context to include as many people as possible? Click To Tweet
Even if your church feels like you know everyone start thinking through insider language. Think about what it would be like for guests to show up. When you do this consistently it helps train your people to believe that you are a church that wants to reach people.
Think through the welcome. Think through songs. Think through the sermon. Everyone loves being included. At times we have been on the inside so long we forget what it’s like to not feel included.