Hello, My Name is Nonreligious Guy

Hello there. My name is Nonreligious Guy and I’m going to attend your church tomorrow. Here are the things you need to know:

  1. I’m taking a big chance by coming. I feel really nervous, so do everything you can to make this experience as non-threatening as possible.
  2. I’m very observant. I’m picking up both verbal and non-verbal communication. Help me make sure this is a safe place where I won’t have to reveal too much of myself until I am ready.
  3. Help me find where my family and I need to go without too much asking.
  4. Even though they look friendly, train your greeters to be sensitive to the fact that I’m nervous and I need a little reassuring.
  5. When I sit down in the service I want to be able to sit where I choose, and if at all possible, let me sit near the back and near the aisle.
  6. Don’t fill the program with too much stuff. Just give me the basics of what I need to know.
  7. Make sure the music has some spirit and life to it. While I may not want to worship, I want to be around other people who do and I want to see what the experience is like.
  8. When you speak it would be helpful to have an outline to help me understand what’s going to be said and how it’s going to relate to my life.
  9. If you use the word “lost” I am not going to understand that you’re talking about me. I don’t feel lost, though I do feel terribly disconnected.
  10. Don’t shout and scream. I get enough of that at work and home.
  11. Talk as though we’re having a conversation, not a confrontation. It’ll be easier for me to listen.
  12. Don’t just tell me that Jesus is “the way.” Help me understand what you mean and talk about him at length because he’s the one thing I’m interested in.
  13. On that note, don’t be afraid to talk about Jesus. I’ve been to churches where they’ve talked around him.
  14. Use the Scripture and make it easy for me to follow along. I’m not just interested in your opinion. Give me just a few insights to hold onto. I don’t need a lot.
  15. While I don’t quite understand how long this talk should be taking, please don’t make it any longer than it has to be. I’ll get used to it after awhile, but initially, I get distracted.
  16. At the end of the service don’t ask me to do something I’m not ready to do. Leave the decision with me.
  17. When I leave, make me feel as though you are glad I was there, but leave the decision to come back up to me.

This is not an exhaustive list, but think through it from the perspective of a brand new person who has come into your church. See how they feel.

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