One of the watchwords today is “user friendly.” This means that the organization’s actions, activities, physical plant and their social media platforms are welcoming to visitors. The church has especially taken this issue to heart and in many congregations much time and effort has been spent in making the facility and the worship service “user friendly.”
In 1 Corinthians 14:20-33a, Paul seems to be speaking to this very situation. He say that we should always worship God with the visitor or unbeliever in mind. “If all are uttering prophecies (as opposed to speaking in tongues), visitors, when they enter hear from everyone something that searches their conscience and brings conviction, and the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God.”
Paul is reminding us that always in our worship we should insist on the truth of God being proclaimed in an intelligible manner. For, by structuring our worship in such a manner visitors and unbelievers may be brought face-to-face with God.
—Rev. Terry Maynard
- How is worship structured in the church where you belong? Is there a conscious effort for its planning?
- Can you identify a flow to the services of worship? What is the goal or purpose of worship? Do the hymns, prayers, litanies and sermon reinforce the scripture lesson or do they clash?
- Are visitors considered important in your congregation? Why or why not? Are there special efforts or programs especially for visitors?
- What can you do to make your worship “user friendly?” Consider making worship helpful to those with children or those with special needs.
How Do I Act?
- Interview several recent visitors getting their impression of your worship. Tell them why you are asking and mention that their visit is important to you. If they have a job or interest with another church member, contact that member with their name and phone number. The personal contact may be what visitors need to make a decision to return.
- List several ideas to make your church and your worship more user friendly. If your visitors are young families, make children’s cloth worship bags. Fill them with quiet activities like a children’s bulletin, crayons, a cloth doll, a cloth activity book, etc. Or work on the church’s handicapped accessibility. Do visitors know which door to come to?
- Invite your pastor to visit a group in your church and talk about the goal of worship or the structure of the services.
- Secure different bulletins from various kinds of churches and see if you can identify a definitive movement with the services.