by: Rev. Jerry Chiles
If we open our eyes, we can identify walls in our own church that need to be torn down. The question is how do we begin to have an impact on these walls? Here are some simple suggestions.
If you are having trouble identifying them, invite a ‘church visitor’ to visit your church and give a report on what barriers they identify. Here are some questions to ask: How are people greeted at your church? Is the parking lot and the building accessible for handicapped persons? Does the building have good signage, so that guests can fine their way without asking for help? Is your worship center warm and inviting or is it dark and cold?
Most people will visit your website before arriving. Is the website up to date and easily navigated? Are your beliefs clearly identified? Are your Bible study classes identified with location and topics being studied? Do you provide an online presence for worship and Bible study? In one situation the website was not up to date, and upon arrival the guest checked a bulletin board which was also out of date, and finally asked a member who did not know the location.
Some churches build walls around worship. In one church as you entered the worship center the screen read, “please turn your cell phone off”. In this same church a sign read “no food and drink in the worship center.” What messages do these two signs communicate? In one instance a young couple visited the church. As they were greeted, the wife, who had seen the sign, was looking for a place to deposit her drink. She was encouraged by the greeter to keep her drink. On discussing this event in a church conference, it was acknowledged that 1/3 of the congregation carried drinks into the worship center. The sign was removed.
What barriers or walls have you identified and how will you go about helping to remove them?
Will you welcome guests with open arms or will you create walls between them and God?
These thoughts are from Rev. Jerry Chiles, one of our partners in ministry for the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina Metroplex. He has served in various churches across the Southeast as an associate minister. Contact him For more information about how he can help you.