by Rev. James Wong
Go for 10 … are you one? This is the theme for all our EGC churches in Sabah. We are striving to move our churches from the maintenance mode to a growing mode; from inward looking to become more outward looking.
The number of people attending our worship services tells a lot about the condition of our church. When a church has stagnated in its attendance, it is a sign that the church is in the maintenance mode. Church activities are church members centered rather than people outside the church. The stagnation also means that members are not bringing their friends to church.
Boring Services. Over the years many members told me they are ashamed to bring their friends to church because the sermon is boring and the worship service is boring. Is this serious? Absolutely! According to an Australian Community Survey (ACS) on Why People Don’t Go To Church, with responses from some 85,000 people across eight community types, the top-ranked answer was “it’s boring.” Although we may bear with a boring service because we grew up in the church, generally people do not want to waste time on something that is boring or meaningless.
Common Sense. To grow our church requires a paradigm shift of mindset; moving from boring traditional conditioning to common sense. Jesus says, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt 4:19). Those who follow Christ must be able to win others to Christ. But, all fishermen must fish on the terms of the fish. On one of my fishing trips I was unable to get a single fish but the guy beside me got so many fishes. The reason was simple. I was using KFC chicken meat, (which was my lunch that day) as my bait whereas the guy was using worms as his bait. Fish does not like KFC chicken meat but worms. We need more common sense.
The style of our worship service on Sunday is not set on stone. It must be subject to constant change for improvement. A worship service must be inspiring and not a repetition of a meaningless liturgical order. Teaching can be done in classes, life group discussion, seminars training and special teaching sessions. However, Sunday must be designed to be more ‘seeker sensitive’ if we want to help non Christians to come to know Christ. We need to be more sensitive to the needs of visitors, friends and seekers.
Friendship Issue. What can you do as a member of this church? Be proactive and spend some time connecting with the not so familiar friends or new friends who are with us on Sunday. Since they are here, why not make them feel very welcome. Put on a smile and extend your hands of friendship. Everyone loves a friendly church.