Yesterday, I had a conversation with someone that is going to shift the way I/we do ministry at The Passage Church. Yesterday I was shown how wrong I have been in a specific approach to ministry and from today forward it is going to change.
Let me begin with my conversation from yesterday. I was talking with someone whom I hadn’t talked with in a long time and the conversation of church came up, as it often does when you are a pastor, and I asked them if they were still going to church. They informed me they had stopped going and gave a few reasons why they no longer attended, we could debate the validity those reasons, but we will leave them alone. After talking for a bit longer he said there is one thing that has bothered me since I have been gone, no one has called to check on me. He said he hasn’t been to church there in almost two years and both the phone calls he received were about sending money for a specific campaign. He was obviously hurt that no one had called about his lack of attendance, but he felt they were quick to call about his giving. Now I understand that the person who called about his giving more than likely did not know he was not attending. I think what bothered my friend was that it seemed people didn’t care if he showed up or not.
As I went through my day yesterday I thought of all the times I was guilty of the same thing. People who have come to The Passage Church hung around for awhile and then haven’t shown back up. I haven’t emailed, called, or visited nearly enough. My justification has always been, they must have found what they were looking for somewhere else. I have always assumed they left in search of better preaching or programs, more likely preaching, and have found it. I like to assume they get up every Sunday and head to church where they are being taught discipled well.
The reality may be quite different. The reality could be that they need encouragement in a difficult situation or that they have been away for awhile and want to return, but find it difficult. The reasons could be many, but I/we need to make a return to church simple, and begin doing so, by letting people know they have been missed and they are wanted at our church.
I know church is not about filling seats, but making disciples, I understand it isn’t a church’s seating capacity, but sending capacity that defines it, and we don’t want to just see people return we want to see them become followers of Jesus who make followers of Jesus.
So finally let me say this. If you are still on our email list and have made it to the bottom of this long blog post or stumbled across this via facebook, let me apologize. I am sorry if I have dropped the ball. I am sorry that if you have left The Passage church and felt that we didn’t pursue you, therefore, feeling like we didn’t love you. I am sorry if you have ever felt used, feeling like we want something FROM you rather than something FOR you. If you have found another church home, praise God, serve Him well there with that body, but if not, let me invite you back (WARNING: You will probably be hearing from me or someone soon).