Next time you’re in church, look around. If you know the name of everyone in the worship center, you may not be in a healthy church.
Whoa, that’s raw, isn’t it? Here’s the deal: Those who study this stuff tell us that almost no one knows more than about 40 members of the church they regularly attend, no matter how large the membership. If you regularly have 40 in attendance you probably recognize all of them. If you regularly have 400 in attendance you likely can call the names of about 40 of them. There are obviously exceptions, but that’s a pretty predictable formula.
But here’s my point. If you recognize them all, there must not be any guests. The same pundits I referenced above tell us that the “goal” is to have a minimum of one guest each week for every 50 people in attendance. (That seems slender to me but that’s what the “experts” say.) If it’s true, and if you attend a hundred- member church, then the congregational quest is two guests each week, about a hundred per year. If you attend one of the rare churches in America that average, say, 400 at each worship service, your hope is to have a minimum of eight new guests weekly.
So, technically, the fewer people you recognize at any given worship service, the healthier your church. Of course, before they leave you will seek them out and let them know how honored you are to have them as guests, and ask if there is anything you can pray about for them in the coming week. I’ve written about that before.
But my topic today is different. The truth is this: Churches grow because the members bring guests. End of sentence. You and I feel more comfortable attending a new place if we go with someone who is familiar with the place, especially if it’s someone we trust. So do our friends, colleagues, neighbors, family.
Now if all of this is true, maybe first thing every morning, even before I’m out of bed, my earnest prayer might include this request: “Dear God, make me alert to those You bring into my path today who may be searching and waiting for an invitation to come to Your house and worship You. If You bring them to me I will be brash enough – and tender enough – to invite them. The rest is up to You, but I’m available. Amen.”
By Don Jacobsen