With our journey of visiting fifty-two churches over, I have the benefit of time to more fully reflect on the complete experience, starting with Church #1.
Every week, it was hard for me to walk into a new church, but the first time was the hardest. Although terrified, I had a good attitude. Because of my positive outlook, I called it “a friendly church with a homey feel” and even admitted I could make it my church home—if I had to.
That was correct. And I must remember that most of the people there were really nice.
However, two things stand out as among the most awkward church of our entire journey.
First, being cornered by a hard-to-understand man, who recounted the diseases and deaths of his parents a few decades ago, was the most painful ordeal of the year. No one at the church made any effort to rescue us from his unfiltered monologue.
As my face tried to smile, my insides screamed Will this ever end?
Second, asking “first time visitors” to raise their hands with only seventeen people present was another awkward church moment. Again, with a weak smile, I squirmed under the unwanted attention. Get me out of here!
Though this practice may have a place in a church of a couple hundred, it’s nonsense for a small church where the visitors are obvious. I often share this experience as a humorous example of what not to do.
The lesson is to examine our church traditions and practices, considering what still makes sense for today and eliminating all else.
[See my reflections about Church #2.]
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Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.
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