How many times have you asked or been asked the question, “How was church today?”
It is a common question asked in different ways by many church goers after the Sunday service. It’s even asked by pastors and staff on Monday to evaluate the weekend. Parents ask their children, adults ask other adults who may have been serving in other areas, and families and groups who gather for lunch afterwards ask it in a slightly different way, “What did you think of church today?” It is a popular question that you’ve probably asked and answered.
The question seems innocent enough and there is nothing inherently wrong with it, but it is the wrong question to ask.
The problem with the question is that it enforces the consumer mindset we too often bring to church with us. When we are asked, “How was church?”, we immediately want to begin giving a critique of what happened in the service. If the music was to our liking, and we sang the songs we enjoy, then church was probably good. If the preacher presented his material well with the right measure of passion and poignancy, then again, church was probably good. If the sound guy didn’t mess up and there were no crying babies in the service, it was great.
What happens when things don’t go well though? If the music goes bad and the “right” songs aren’t sung, the service becomes not very good. If the preacher messed up his notes and chased rabbit trails, we give church a negative review. Church was not good, and we have an opportunity to serve the pastor, worship leader, or the sound man on a platter for lunch. When pastors ask this question, they are usually harder on themselves than most others and believe it was their fault the service didn’t go well and at times can take it out on the worship leader.
What question should we ask in relation to the Sunday morning service?
Instead of asking how was church today and stoking the consumer mentality, what if there was a question that challenged people to live out their missional calling? A better question we should ask one another after church is, “What happened today at church that will help you live on mission this week?” This would transform the after church discussions around the dinner table and in the hallways and get people focused on living out their mission. It would allow parents the opportunity to train their children to accomplish their missional purpose. If pastors would ask in staff meeting about how the service helped members focus on their mission, and services were planned with this question in mind, it would focus the church on its true purpose. Churches could more readily keep the main thing the main thing.
Let’s ask a different question. When we ask the first question, if everything doesn’t go our way, the service is a failure. However, the music can be bad, and the sermon may not be the best that Sunday, and I can still have something that will help me live on mission. Let’s change our mindset when it comes to the Sunday morning service and keep our people locked into the mission God has given us.
For more information on No Sweat Evangelism, go to nosweatevangelism.com. The Georgia Baptist Mission Board has an Evangelism Consultant in your specific region that can help you in leading your church members to follow Jesus and work in His harvest fields. For more information, please contact the Evangelism team of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board and schedule a consultation. You can also join the conversation on Facebook!