Thu Dec 12, 2013
by Dave Bruskas
Paycheck mommy, the gayby boom, and other trends changing the American family
Wed Dec 11, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
3 tips for sharing Jesus with others this Christmas
Wed Dec 11, 2013
by Adam Ramsey
Everlasting joy is coming
Tue Dec 10, 2013
by Elyse Fitzpatrick
Sorry your party’s lame, Jesus
Mon Dec 09, 2013
by Cam Huxford IV
Who Are My Sheep?
You’ve seen them. They attend your church “frequently.”
But frequently, as they measure it, is once every 6–10 weeks, some every 6 months, others are content with just Christmas and Easter. And if you are a leader who’s active in the community and you see them out at a coffee shop, bar, or store they may even introduce you to friends, coworkers, or neighbors as their “pastor.” They are the anonymous attendees, and your church is the place they come for inspiration, temporary healing, assuaging guilt, or instant relational gratification with low output and commitment.
A Congregation of Anonymity
Recently, after examining the piles of contact information we’ve gathered from people over the last 10 ½ months, I realized that my team and I are leading two distinct “congregations.”
This mysterious group of people makes up a “larger than we’d like” percentage of our church and is also a hindrance to true community. What’s been most amazing in this discovery is, though half our staff has never seen their faces, some people in Congregation B actually give financially every month!
When the Anonymous Don’t Want To Be Found
There are several schools of thought on how to approach the anonymity issue in the church. Some say create space for them to “check you out,” and eventually they will “stick.” That’s cool, and not inherently wrong, but how do you “check out” a family to determine whether you want to be a part of it? What are the criteria: ethnicity, race, social status? What is it that says to them, “This is your new family”?
The small community is supposed to function primarily as a discipleship hub, safe place for seekers, and mobile missionary unit.
Others advise to set up small groups to close the back door, and when they get in some relationships, they'll stick. I agree that relationship is the superhighway of gospel engagement and transformation; but the small community is supposed to function primarily as a discipleship hub, safe place for seekers, and mobile missionary unit. So, closing the back door seems far down the line of importance.
How To Pursue the Anonymous
Regardless of where you fall along the spectrum of how to handle this consumerist American reality within the church, as a leader of God's people, these anonymous churchgoers (uncommitted and detached) are your responsibility. So, what are you going to do about them? Here are some ideas to consider:
- Pray regularly for them
- Seek them out when they do attend
- Find out who invited them the first time and have them lovingly pursue them
- Track movement, not just worship attendance (giving, community group participation, mercy and justice, ministry teams)
- Engage them through social media
- Graciously call them out on it (if you have even a bit of a relationship established with them, this is your responsibility)
Post the ideas you would add to this list on Facebook?