After several years working on staff as a church, and six more as a church planter, I’m now attending a church with my family. This has actually been a positive and refreshing time, and it’s given me a much different perspective things.
I don’t offer this list as a criticism…simply some observations from someone new to sitting in rows. Here are six thoughts from a church attender.
1. It’s hard for me to think about church during the week. As a pastor, I thought about church all of the time, and I assumed people in the church did the same thing. I’m still probably more interested than the average church attender, but I can’t really tell you what series is starting this week. I’m numb to the hype, and real life is busy.
2. Singing is strange. I know that worship is more than singing, and I believe that singing is a form of worship, but it’s just strange to stand in a room full of strangers and sing sings. It might happen after the 7th inning and at a birthday party, but it’s strange when a room full of adults break out into song. I’ve looked around, and by my estimations, maybe 30% of the room is participating publicly. And most guys are just standing there.
3. I don’t know the people you’re talking about. Again, I know more about the church world than the typical church attender, but the people sitting in the pews don’t know Bill Hybles and they thing Hillsong is something from Lord of the Rings. It’s awesome that you know those people, but my celebrities are on TV and not on church leadership blogs.
4. I can’t possibly remember all the information you’re throwing my way. I’m trying…I really am. But you gave me five points and three things to do. It’s really hard for me to remember the points from your sermon. Not to mention the six announcements you gave at the end of the service…I’ve forgotten those things by the time I picked up my kids.
5. I want to laugh more. I know it’s church, and I know you’re preaching a sermon. But I really do want to laugh a little. If you tell a funny story or say something witty, I’ll be more engaged. I’m not expecting a Vegas show when I come to church, but does it always have to be so serious?
6. I don’t like crowded rooms or parking lots. As a pastor, I loved the crowded room. As the person trying to find a seat, not so much. In fact, I would love it if the seat next to me was empty. And while I know a crowded parking lot is a sign of life, it’s hard for my kids to talk about what they learned in their class when trying to get out of a crowded parking lot. I know it’s shallow and I’m trying to get over it, but it’s where I am.
I know there are a lot of church leaders who read this blog, so I offer this list in humility, just to let you know what some of us “regular” people might be thinking. Every church is important and every person matters.