June 24, 2012 Healthy Churches

Posted on June 24, 2012 at 11:40 am by heatherscherer No Comment

For the last couple of weeks, I have been visiting churches in the area on Sunday mornings for worship. Other than when I first went to college, I have never had the opportunity to visit different churches. I have always been volunteering in my home church so much that the opportunity to visit others wasn’t an option. It really is very interesting.
The things I look for are signs of a healthy church. For me, those signs are a diversity of people including age, race and ability. I check to see if accomodations have been made to include people with mobility or disability issues. I look for children and youth and if they are included in leadership in any way. I check out the way people are dressed and how they relate to each other. I watch who leads and what age, race, and sex they are. I notice what kind of music is played and how the congregation participates. And I pay attention to how they treat me, a visitor.
To be honest, the churches I have seen so far are doing very well. They have hit all the healthy church signs and they seem to be a vibrant, loving congregaton. The only weak spot could be that they don’t engage me in any way. Oh, they have smiled and shook my hand. They have nodded and said welcome. They have handed me information and sent me out with a blessing. But no one has asked me my name or why I am there.
To be honest, I am kind of relieved because I don’t have to explain that I am a new pastor in the area sharing worship with everyone until I have my own services. But I would think that someone would take the time to say, “Hey I don’t know you. Are you a visitor?” I have to ask myself, what keeps them from asking? Are they afraid? Do they think I have been coming often and they just haven’t noticed? Are they hoping to visit with someone they know and I am just a “have to” handshake? Do they worry they might offend me or seem too pushy? If I had been seeking a place to be in relationship or needing a person to pray for and with me, wouldn’t I have left still a stranger?
I learned in seminary to have a name in a Biblical story is significant and shows status. Because I have gone unnamed as I visit these churches, does that mean I have no significance? Did I matter? Will my church be the same way?Facebooktwitterby feather

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